Obama makes final speech at birthplace of Democracy

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President Obama ended his visit to Greece on Wednesday with a speech at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center.

He praised the democratic system at the place it was born and also called for a "course correction" on globalisation that's left the people of Greece afraid of an uncertain future.

"We can't look backward for answers, we have to look forward," Obama said, adding that progress must be mitigated by citizens' wellbeing. If people feel like they're losing control of their future, they'll push back,” he said.

Obama said he would continue to urge creditors to aid Greece and put it on a sustainable path to recovery.


"You will continue to have the core support of the United States, and at the same time I will continue to urge creditors to take the steps needed to put Greece on a path towards sustained economic recovery.

"As Greece continues to implement reforms, the IMF has said that debt relief will be crucial to get Greece back to growth. They are right," he said.

Obama went on to hail democracy and spoke of his strong views of a democratic society- insisting people have the right to choose their governments and leaders.

"Democracy can be especially complicated. Believe me. I know," Obama said. "But it is better than the alternatives because it allows us to peacefully work through our differences and move closer to our ideals."

"It allows us to correct for mistakes," he said. "Any action by a president or any result of an election or any legislation that has proven flawed can be corrected through the process of democracy."

This was the final stage for Obama’s two-day visit in Athens, where he came to discuss Greece’s debt issues and refugee crisis. Before his speech, he also fulfilled what he called his “childhood dream” of climbing the Acropolis and toured the Parthenon and the museum nearby.


Part of Obama’s final words before leaving Greece-  

"In all of our communities, I still believe there’s more of what Greeks call philotimo—love, and respect, and kindness for family and community and country, and a sense that we’re all in this together, with obligations to each other. Philotimo—I see it every day and that gives me hope. Because in the end, it is up to us. It's not somebody else's job, it's not somebody else's responsibility, but it's the citizens of our countries and the citizens of the world to bend that arc of history towards justice. And that’s what democracy allows us to do. It's why the most important office in any country is not president or prime minister. The most important title is 'citizen'—and in all our nations it will always be our citizens who decide the kind of countries we will be, the ideals that we will reach for, the values that will define us. In this great, imperfect, but necessary system of self-government, power and progress will always come from...'We, the people.'"

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.