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Obama’s presidential library to be built in Chicago

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U.S. President Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama

The future library and museum commemorating Barack Obama’s two presidential terms will be built in Chicago, the US president’s foundation said.

The project, which includes the construction of an academic institute, will occupy land provided by City Hall in a public park that will be identified on Tuesday at noon, when the university that will collaborate in managing the presidential library will also be officially made public.

In a video of the Obama Foundation, the president and first lady say they chose Chicago because it was the city that has marked their lives and early careers, where they met each other and where their children were born.

“The centre will inspire citizens across the globe to better their communities, their countries, and their world. It will exist not merely as testimony to one man’s legacy, but as a dynamic, vibrant forum for civic participation, education, action, debate, and progress,” the announcement said.

Though US media have revealed over the past few weeks that the University of Chicago will be a partner in the project, the full details will not be known until the press conference that Mayor Rahm Emanuel will hold at noon on Tuesday.

The University of Chicago competed with the University of Hawaii, Columbia University in New York, and the University of Illinois in Chicago, to win the library and museum for the South Side of the city where Obama began his political career as a state senator in 1996 and where first lady Michelle Obama was born.

The library and museum will compile and display all kinds of documents and materials from Obama’s time in the White House, while “multimedia exhibitions will interpret what Obama’s presidency meant to America and the world, and activate a new generation of leaders”.

The construction of presidential libraries is a tradition that began with the mandate of Calvin Coolidge, who served as president from 1923 to 1929, though some presidents before him like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson also have centres dedicated to their memory.