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Obama And Amanpour: Will Democracy Win; Christiane Amanpour Interviews Former President Barack Obama. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired June 22, 2023 - 22:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: The crew that broke the world record for circumnavigating the globe over both poles, 48-year-old British Pakistani billionaire Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son, Suleman.


Suleman, we should note, was a university student in Glasgow. And 77 year old legendary French diver P.H. Nargeolet, he had made dozens of dives to the site of the Titanic. Tonight, we are thinking for all of those who knew them and their families.

Up next, the CNN exclusive, Obama and Amanpour, Will Democracy Win, starts right now.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to a CNN special report. I'm Christiane Amanpour live in this ancient city of Athens, in Greece, where the seeds of democracy were first sown.

Tonight, my one-on-one with the former President Barack Obama, who's here sounding the alarm on the fate of democracy and working to strengthen it through his foundation. He joined me at the Athens SNF Cultural Center, which is devoted to civil society and discourse. He spoke candidly about the current presidential race, which includes both of his successors, Donald Trump, and the current president, Joe Biden.

It's worth noting that Obama's last overseas speech as president was right here back in November 2016, barely a week after Donald Trump won that election. His message, that democracy would prevail. But in the years since, democracy has taken a battering in the United States as well as around the world, from attacks on the rule of law and the press, to the rise of autocrats. So, he's delivering that same message now more urgently than ever.


AMANPOUR: Mr. President, welcome.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: It is wonderful to be with you.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you about your commitment to democracy right here in Athens? You did give a speech, your last speech as president, about a week after President Trump won, and you talked about your faith in the solidity of the democratic ideals. A lot has happened still since then, right?

OBAMA: That's true.

AMANPOUR: Do you still feel that way? Do you feel democracy will win?

OBAMA: I do believe that democracy will win if we fight for it. Democracy is not self-executing. It depends on the engagement of citizens and an active, you know, mobilization of people around the belief, not just in any particular issue, but the belief in self- governance and rule of law and independent judiciary and the free press, all the civic institutions that go into making a democracy work.

And I think it is indisputable that a combination of forces have put enormous strains on democracy and that we've seen a backlash against democratic ideals around the world. It's not unique to any one place. It's happened in Europe. It's happened in the United States. It's happened in this part of the world to around the Mediterranean. It's happening in Asia.

The reason I'm optimistic is because I believe, particularly as I meet young people around the world, there is still a fundamental belief in the dignity and worth of individuals and their agency in determining what their lives are like. I think that's what young people want. But our existing democratic institutions are creaky, and we're going to have to reform them.

AMANPOUR: So, let's ask about the creaky or not institutions in the United States.



AMANPOUR: The spectacle of a former president being federally indicted. How is the rest of the world, the democratic world, maybe even the non-democratic world, meant to interpret that indictment and indeed, the fact that a federal indictee is running is able to run for the highest office in the land, maybe even the world?

OBAMA: It's less than ideal, right? But the fact that we have a former president who is having to answer to charges brought by prosecutors does uphold the basic notion that nobody is above the law and the allegations will now be sorted out through a court process.

I think I'm more concerned when it comes to the United States with the fact that not just one particular individual is being accused of undermining existing laws, but that more broadly we've seen whether it's through the gerrymandering of districts, whether it's trying to silence critics, through changes in legislative process, whether it's attempts to intimidate the press, a strand of anti-democratic sentiment that we've seen in the United States.

It's something that is right now most prominent in the Republican Party, but I don't think it's something that is unique to one party. I think there is a less tolerance for ideas that don't suit us and sort of the habits of a free and open exchange of ideas and the idea that we all agree to the rules of the game. And even if the outcomes aren't always the ones we like, we still abide by those rules. I think that's weakened since I left office, and we're going to need to strengthen them again.

AMANPOUR: So, I do need to ask you then, a follow-up on that, because what happens if Donald Trump wins again? It said that the institutional guardrails of American democracy were strong enough to survive a one-term presidency. Are they strong enough to survive if that kind of personality wins again?

OBAMA: I won't speculate on the outcome of a future election. Obviously, I'm a Democrat. I've got a deep --

AMANPOUR: I mean, the institution.

OBAMA: -- interest in the outcome. But I'll make a general statement, which is, having been president of the United States, you need a president who takes the oath of office seriously. You need a president who believes not just in the letter but in the spirit of democracy.

And the essential spirit of democracy is that, as president of the United States, you are just one representative of the people in a series of co-equal branches. There are checks and balances to the system. You are subject to those checks and balances. You cannot ignore them. You cannot make your own rules. You cannot view the Justice Department as your personal law firm. You cannot ignore norms and guardrails that have been put in place to assure that your self- interest isn't what drives these institutions, but is rather the interests of the American people. And so if you have anybody who's occupying that office who disregards that higher purpose, then you're going to have problems.

The good news is that, through the mechanism of voting, the American people are going to have the opportunity to reaffirm their belief in American democracy. And the other thing, Christiane, I do think that what happens in the United States matters around the world. And then thing sometimes I'm asked what surprised you about being president, and I said I knew I was going to be busy and I knew that, obviously, the United States is an extraordinarily powerful country.

The idea of America, the idea of the possibility of a multiracial, multiethnic, multi-religious, large, big, complicated country still being able to function as a democracy, that is an important idea for the world.


And when it looks like America's democracy is teetering or breaking down, then I think it emboldens those who do not believe in democracy around the world and it worries and weakens democratic forces in other places.

AMANPOUR: So, President Biden, a man who you know extremely well, has made the defense of democracy the sort of centerpiece of his administration. It just so happens that right now there's also not just threats to democracy by dictatorships and autocrats but also illiberal democracy as well. He has called the president of China a dictator, and they're sticking with it. He is also hosting, as we speak, the prime minister of India, Modi, who is considered autocratic, or at least a liberal democrat.

What is the point, I guess, or how should a president engage with those kinds of leaders either in the naming of them or in the dealing with them?

OBAMA: Look, it's complicated. The president of the United States has a lot of equities. And when I was president, I would deal with figures in some cases who were allies, who, if you pressed me in private, do they run their governments and their political parties in ways that I would say are ideally democratic, I'd have to say no.

AMANPOUR: Throwing in nicknames (ph).

OBAMA: No, of course, not. But you had to do business with them because they're important for national security reasons. There are a range of economic interests. I dealt with China to get the Paris Accords done. I dealt with Modi to get the Paris Accords done, because I think climate change is something that transcends any particular momentary issues. It's a problem that humanity has got to deal with over the next several decades in a serious way.

I do think that it is appropriate for the President of the United States, where he or she can, to uphold those principles and to challenge, whether behind closed doors or in public, trends that are troubling. And so I'm less concerned about labels than I'm concerned about specific practices. I think it is important for the president of the United States to say that if you have Uyghurs in China who are being placed in mass camps and reeducated, quote/unquote, that's a problem. That's a challenge to all of us, and we have to pay attention to it.

I think it is true that if the president meets with Prime Minister Modi, then the protection of the Muslim minority in a majority Hindu India, that's something worth mentioning. And, by the way, if I had a conversation with Prime Minister Modi, who I know well, part of my argument would be that if you do not protect the rights of ethnic minorities in India, then there is a strong possibility India at some point starts pulling apart. And we've seen what happens when you start getting those kinds of large internal conflicts. So, that would be contrary to the interests not just of Muslim India, but also Hindu India.

So, I think it's important to be able to talk about these things honestly. You're never going to have -- things are never going to be as clean as you'd like because the world is complicated.


AMANPOUR: When we return, Mr. Obama weighs in on President Biden's re-election chances, including whether he'll face a serious Democratic challenger.

Plus, I ask him about the events under his own watch that preceded Russia's current invasion of Ukraine.


AMANPOUR: Do you think Putin should have been challenged more then?



AMANPOUR: Welcome back to a CNN special report live from Athens, Greece. You just heard former President Barack Obama react to the Republican primary race. In this next part, he discusses the re- election chances of the current president and his former V.P., President Biden. Obama also weighs in on the war in Ukraine and why the outcome is vital to democracy.


AMANPOUR: President Biden is running for re-election.


AMANPOUR: Everybody is talking about his age. People are talking about his polls. Even there are some challenges within the Democrats, maybe somebody will might start to try to primary him, et cetera. But what I would like to know is many say that his policies and his legislatives and his wins, frankly, should speak for themselves. And yet, according to A Way to Win, it's a Democrat-leaning company firm, only some 22 percent of Latino voters, 33 percent of black voters can actually identify something that they say he's done to specifically make their lives better. What would you say to that, and how would you advise him to connect in a re-election?

OBAMA: I think Joe Biden has done an extraordinary job leading the country through some very difficult times. I do not think that there's going to be any kind of serious primary challenge to Joe Biden. I think the Democratic Party is unified.

There was a lot of talk, you'll remember, when he was first elected because Bernie Sanders had run, that somehow there was this huge split between progressive Democrats and more centrist Democrats. And the truth is that partly because of how Joe has governed, those divisions have been bridged.

I think what's true in American politics generally is until you get two campaigns, people aren't paying much attention. People have gone through a difficult time because of COVID and the pandemic and lockdowns, because of inflation, primarily the result of both the war in Ukraine and rising energy prices, as well as supply chain issues.


And so people have memories about them, okay, eggs got more expensive and gas was more expensive and they haven't been paying as much attention to the fact that, for example, the African-American unemployment rate is lower than it's been in decades. The campaign will allow President Biden to make those arguments.

And I think that in a media environment that's so cluttered, it's very hard to break through until you get to election time. You'll recall when I ran for re-election in 2012, my poll numbers weren't that great and we ended up winning comfortably. Part of that was just we started campaigning and we were able to get a message out and people said, yes, that policy or this policy or this thing left undone, that irritated me a little bit.

But, overall, I think he's done a good job and I think that's what they're going to conclude about Joe Biden as well.

AMANPOUR: When Russia started its illegal invasion, the second invasion of Ukraine, I believe you said that democracies, it's a clarion call, it's a wakeup call, democracies are getting flabby and feckless. Where does Ukraine, in your view, stand in the fight to preserve democracy?

OBAMA: I think it's vital. It's interesting. Before I left office, I gave speeches not just here in Athens, but also in Hamburg and in London and. And one of the arguments I've made is, do not take for granted the extraordinary achievement of the European Union and the fact that a continent that was wrecked by war and, and bloodshed for centuries was now as prosperous and as peaceful as any in history.

And then now, we've seen the first war on European soil in recent memory. And I think it was a wakeup call to Europe, and I think it was a wakeup call to the west and to democracies around the world that the old ways of thinking, might makes right, big countries can do what they want to small countries, that people cannot independently determine their futures, that those forces have to be confronted.

Watching the Ukrainians themselves with such courage and bravery to fight back, I think that reminded Europe of who they were. And I've been impressed by the degree to which, in not easy circumstances, Europe has stood up. It has provided the aid that was necessary. I think the Biden administration has very deftly managed maintaining that alliance to support Ukraine. And I believe the stakes are high to send a message to somebody like Putin that they are not going to just be able to willy-nilly determine the borders of other countries.

AMANPOUR: So, obviously, hindsight is a great thing, 20/20 vision is a great thing, but you experienced while you were in office Putin's first invasion, the annexation of Crimea. And many people said neither you nor the western allies stood up and put enough red lines around him around that.


AMANPOUR: So, what's your reaction to that? And I want to just add also your friend, your good friend and colleague, Angela Merkel, is under very serious criticism right now. I know you've just met with her recently. Should she have leveraged, you know, Germany's economy, its energy on the addiction to cheap energy in Russia? Was that a mistake?

OBAMA: Well, I think the Ukraine of that time is not the Ukraine that we're talking about today. There's a reason why there was not an armed invasion of Crimea, because Crimea was full of a lot of Russian speakers and there was some sympathy to the view that Russia was representing its interests. The Rada, at the time, the Ukrainian parliament itself, still had a number of Russian sympathizers and the politics inside Ukraine were more complicated.

And part of what happened was both myself but also Merkel, who I give enormous credit for, had to pull in a lot of other Europeans kicking and screaming to impose the sanctions that we did and to prevent Putin from continuing through the Donbas into the rest of Ukraine.

So, I actually think that given both where Ukraine was at, at the time, and where the European mindset was at the time, we held the line.


And part of what happened was, over time, a sense of Ukrainian identity separate from Russia, and a determination to push back against Russia, and an ability to prepare, both militarily and civically, to resist Russian pressure, they built up those muscles, and that's part of the reason why they were able to respond the way they did when you actually saw what was, in my view at least, incredibly misguided, not to mention illegal and incredibly cruel incursion by Russian forces.

AMANPOUR: Do you think Putin should have been challenged more then?

OBAMA: I think that we challenged Putin with the tools that we had at the time, given where Ukraine was at the time.


AMANPOUR: And when we return, the former president discusses one of the greatest threats to democracy, the war on truth. He talks about the Republican Party tribalism in U.S. politics and also race in America.


AMANPOUR: Here in Athens, I spoke to former President Barack Obama about the fate of democracy and how people around the world are living in two different realities when it comes to truth, race, gender and the widening global inequalities.


AMANPOUR: You said recently in a speech that if we keep having these terrible differences that we have, we will destroy each other.


We have to find a way how to live together. OBAMA: Yes.

AMANPOUR: I spoke to one of the Republican candidates, former Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, who said to me, give the candidates a chance to talk about the issues that the Americans are concerned about. Let's use appropriate language. Let's be clear that we have differences of policy, but that doesn't always make the person on the other side an evil person or somebody that doesn't love our country.

OBAMA: Right.

AMANPOUR: Do you think the Republicans will coalesce around that kind of message?

OBAMA: No. There's no evidence that that's where their head is at right now. Now, that doesn't mean that that's not attainable over time. You know, look, it wasn't that long ago that I got a lot of Republican votes. It wasn't that long ago where John McCain was the Republican nominee and actively shut down a speaker at a town hall who was saying that I was an illegal alien bent on imposing sharia law on the United States.

And there are still a bunch of folks who are more politically conservative than I am on social issues, on economic issues. But who I consider good people, thoughtful people who I learned from and who I enjoy conversations with. And so, the polarizations that we've seen in our national politics is not identical to what's happening on the ground.

But what is true is that partly because of where people are getting information these days, the siloing of information. If you are watching Fox News, I've said this before, if you're watching Fox News or following some right-wing radio host or getting Facebook feeds within that bubble, your reality is different than if you read the "New York Times" or watch your program.

And when people are getting such fundamentally different facts or what they think to be facts and their worldviews are so skewed in one direction or another, then it's very hard for democracy to work. So, this is the reason why I've been spending a lot of time both in the foundation and in other work talking about these problems of misinformation, not just the kind of misinformation that we see Putin engaging in the Ukraine situation, not just during election time, but just this constant demonization of the other side, making people fearful of each other.

And unfortunately, I think that's going to be a problem that gets even more pronounced with the advent of A.I. and deep fakes and all these challenges.

AMANPOUR: And we want to talk about that a lot with the leaders in the second part of this program. And I just wanted to ask you before I got to them finally, race. You're the first black president. When Trump was elected, somebody who used to work for you and now is an analyst, Van Jones, said, whitelash. It was the whitelash against a black presidency. Do you think the whitelash is receding? And I guess combined with that, how do you interpret two candidates of

color? Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina, Tim Scott, senator of South Carolina, who is saying that Obama wants to keep essentially race as part of the equation, a part of the, you know, the conversation, and you don't believe that everybody has an equal chance in the United States, no matter what their color?

OBAMA: Well, look, I won't comment on what Republican candidates say. I'm not running, so they can find other ways to occupy their time. I think race has always been default line in American life and American politics. That's not original to me. I think any observer of America would say that. And by the way, that historically has not sort of been a one-sided partisan issue.

My favorite president, Abraham Lincoln, did an awful lot to advance the cause of freedom. And conversely, the Democratic Party was where the Dixiecrats resisted civil rights and progress for years and imposed Jim Crow. So, it is something that America has had to grapple with for centuries. I think we have made real progress.


And the, you know, although I was always skeptical that my election somehow signified a post-racial America, if you look at any speech I gave throughout my presidency, I was always someone who reminded the country of the progress that was possible. That was my brand, right? That's part of the hope and change thing. But what I've also always said about hope was it can't be blind hope. It can't be a willful ignorance to our history.

We reckon with our history. That's how we then get better. That's how we perfect our union. You know, in the same way that Germany got better when it looked squarely at what happened during the World War II and came to terms with that. And that's part of why it is a thriving, stable, and increasingly diverse society. And that's part of the argument that I think all of us, not just in the United States or in Europe, but around the world, have to come to terms with.

Humans have a strong desire to coalesce, particularly during times of stress, around tribe, clan, race, you know, whatever our religious preferences are. And politicians have a good way of exploiting that. And if we don't resist it, then we're going to have problems. And by the way, it's not just that us-them dynamic is not just around race. I would argue that in the United States, and I suspect in Europe as well, changing gender roles have fueled at least as much of a backlash as the racial backlash.

This enormous fear among men and those who, like the traditional structures and hierarchies and patriarchy, get very nervous when you have women suddenly being outspoken and thinking that they should have the same rights and power as men do. And when you have people of different sexual orientations saying, I'm here, I want a seat at the table. That has been very threatening.

And there's one last ingredient that I'd be remiss if I didn't mention. I do think there's an economic element to our democracy that we have to pay attention to. Our democracy is not going to be healthy with the levels of inequality that we've seen generated from globalization, automation, the decline in unions, obscene inequality. You think about news of the day. Generally, we're not talking about news of the day, but right now we have 24-hour coverage.

And I understand it, of this submarine, the submersible that tragically is right now lost at the bottom of the sea. At the same time, right here, just off the coast of Greece, we had 700 people dead, 700 migrants who were apparently being smuggled into here, and it's made news, but it's not dominating in the same way. And in some ways, it's indicative of the degree to which people's life chances have grown so disparate.

It's very hard to sustain a democracy when you have such massive concentrations of wealth. And so, part of my argument has been that unless we attend to that, unless we make people feel more economically secure and we're taking more seriously the need to create ladders of opportunity and a stronger safety net that's adapted to these new technologies and the displacements that are taking place around the world, if we don't take care of that, that's also going to fuel the kind of mostly far-right populism, but it can also potentially come from the left, that is undermining democracy because it makes people angry and resentful and scared.


AMANPOUR: And just to note, we had that conversation just before news broke that the submersible suffered a catastrophic implosion and all the crew had been lost. Next, three female leaders of his foundation joined the conversation and what the new generation is facing to strengthen democracies around the world.

Plus, hear what Obama believes is the greatest risk to civilization of A.I. technology.



AMANPOUR: Welcome back to Athens where the sun is starting to rise on a new day. The Obama Foundation here, highlighted, provides mentoring and community-building training. And three of the next-gen leaders joined us for this part of the conversation about how they are taking up the struggle for democracy.

Hager Eissa comes from Sudan, where a fledgling democracy has been all but snuffed out by the old warlords. Hager has worked in refugee camps, and she's founded a nonprofit helping women of color worldwide. Summer Keli'ipio is from Hawaii where she develops leadership skills to strengthen vulnerable populations. And Binette Seck is co-founder of an Ethiopian-based tech training program, which has taught thousands of people coding skills.

They all joined my conversation with President Obama, speaking about threats to women, the climate, and the dangers of A.I.


AMANPOUR: All right, Mr. President, welcome back, and leaders, Hager, Summer, and Binette. We were talking just before the break about the pervasive misogyny and frankly physical attacks on women around the world. I just want to first start by asking you, Mr. President, what is the effect on democracy when essentially half the globe's population is kept down and it still is?


OBAMA: Well, you've answered your own question. If you've got half the population that is being suppressed, often violently, then by definition, democracy is not functioning the way it should. And what is also true is, is that when women are not empowered, typically they're the ones who are the caregivers, which means children are not empowered. So, we are depriving ourselves of a set of perspectives that are vital to making democracy work.

AMANPOUR: So, there's a new report that's just come out in the last several days, the UN gender index. And it shows that some nine out of 10 people are biased against women in about 80 countries where they surveyed. About half say that men make better leaders, political leaders, men are better business leaders, and a quarter of the respondents say that they accept men beating their wives.

I mean, a quarter of the respondents. Let me ask you Hajar, because you come from Sudan, you're living back and forth in Europe and you've experienced war and refugee status. Tell me how it affects you and in your community building this, you know, this oppression of women still.

HAGER EISSA OBAMA FOUNDATION LEADER: I went back to Darfur. We've all heard about Darfur.

AMANPOUR: It was the scene of the genocide in the early 2000s.

EISSA: Yeah, exactly. It was massively and so unfortunate. I went back to Darfur. I sit down with families in refugee camps and trying to explain to them the importance of how they should actually let their girls go to school, right? So, I was the enemy when I started talking about that. They didn't know that I was actually trying to help. They were like, no, you're working against culture. So here we see how culture is playing a main role in shaping even the community that we are around.

AMANPOUR: You know, we have you three women leaders here. I'm sure the Obama Foundation has some male leaders as well, but here we are, the three women leaders. And I'm glad we do, because I want to ask you about what you get from the foundation and what the foundation is designed for in terms of, you know, getting information from each other, sharing experiences, community building.

BINETTE SECK, OBAMA FOUNDATION LEADER: One of the things that the Obama Foundation and the Obama leadership has given me as a leader is truly the networking, the role models I really needed. Growing up in Tensta, it's one of the most vulnerable areas in Sweden, and I would sit in a bus, travel from Tensta all the way to Kista, which is the Silicon Valley of Europe.

Looking out the window seeing these amazing companies. It's a tech hub. It's a tech mecca basically. And sitting in the bus holding in my hand a device. So, throughout my entire life as a 14-year-old or as a 25-year-old, I've always been connected with technology in my hand. But looking out the window, I made a decision as a young girl, I will never ever get a job in tech. And the main reason is if you don't see yourself represented, what will you become?

AMANPOUR: Yeah. Mr. President, what are the seeds that you want to grow out of your foundation in this leadership convention?

OBAMA: So, since I left the presidency, my primary mission has been how do we support, generate, spotlight, convene, network, train, encourage the next generation of leaders. If you're a young woman in a country of the sort that you just cited that is resistant to women's power and you are getting messages that you should not be here at the table, that can be discouraging.

For them to then see themselves in each other and to say, oh, I'm not alone out here, that can be very powerful for them. And they then learn as much from each other as they learn from people like them.

AMANPOUR: And for you, a fellow Hawaiian, climate must be a huge issue, right? And so many young people vote on climate and that's a huge concern for them. What do you think you all can do to move this in a way that will actually make change while governments are still unable to show the full political will?

SUMMER KELI'IPIO, OBAMA FOUNDATION LEADER: Such a great question. You know, the storms are bigger, the surges are bigger, our reefs are disappearing, the fish are not there. People cannot survive anymore. And so, you know, the leadership and the network provides us an opportunity to get help.

AMANPOUR: It's been said our world has the technology, has the knowledge, has the money, has the ability, just not the will, essentially, to solve just about every problem we have. Are you hopeful?


KELI'IPIO: Always, always hopeful. We're whole people, I think. You know, you can't be in this work and not wake up every day hopeful for the future.

OBAMA: We get cynical. We despair when we feel as if we're alone. When we're together, then suddenly we say to ourselves, oh, maybe we can figure this out. And climate change is an example of something that, yes, it's not happening as fast as we'd like, but I constantly remind our young leaders, we've actually made enormous progress.

When I came in, in 2008, during the financial crisis, the entire clean energy industry was about to collapse in the United States. It is now booming. It's these outstanding leaders who are going to then force us to make even faster progress than we're currently making. AMANPOUR: And have to clean up our mess.

OBAMA: As usual.


AMANPOUR: Next, I asked President Obama about the opportunities and the threats of A.I., what that poses to the world. And that's when we return.


AMANPOUR: What is your worst nightmare situation if it's not regulated A.I.?



AMANPOUR: Welcome back. As A.I. technology grows, so do the risks and the dangers. Former President Obama gets candid about the impact of A.I. on national security, the workforce and misinformation.


AMANPOUR: President Biden has been to the West Coast to talk to the A.I. leaders, to talk to them about regulation. What is your worst nightmare situation if it's not regulated A.I.?

OBAMA: This is a powerful technology and it's coming fast. And if it kind of goes into the wild, the way social media did, without us thinking through the consequences, we could have bigger problems with A.I. We will have bigger problems with A.I. National security problems, job displacement problems, misinformation problems that undermine our democracy.

And so, yes. we're going to have to regulate it in an intelligent way. Now, there is enormous potential. If harnessed correctly, you can have A.I. teachers that much more cheaply are delivering a very good education to people in remote areas. The danger is that if it's weaponized, it can be a very powerful tool for mischief.

But the potential for people who are in jobs that can be done remotely to be replaced entirely by machines, I think that is something that's going to happen fairly quickly. And that means that we've got to work more creatively around the sort of things that machines can't do. Machines can't care for each other. Machines can't, you know, tend to somebody who's ill.


They can't teach with joy a child and inspire them. A lot of it is the kinds of work that women do, often uncompensated, but that makes us -- makes life worthwhile.

AMANPOUR: And I guess finally, because we are out of time, it's said that, you know, Greece believed, since we're in Greece, that democracy is only as healthy as the willingness of citizens to engage and to sacrifice, to defend the democracy and to do the work. How do you feel about that?

EISSA: I was at some point feeling that I was alone but then seeing this it made me feel like we're all in this together.

KELI'IOPO: The slide to chaos is real and at the same time I think what we saw during the pandemic was once it starts to hit lots and lots of people then I think everybody starts to pay a little bit more attention.

SECK: What I'm really looking forward to is the next coming generation that are informed, empowered, engaged and I think one of the ways is to build communities where you can find your safe space, you have someone to look up to where you can grow in your network. You can go past the knowledge and build your competence in order to really believe that you're worthy of a better life. Because once you do believe that, we have seen in our organizations, that's when you create a better life for someone else.

AMANPOUR: Brilliant.

OBAMA: And -- and one last thing I'll say about young people and democracy. It is our job, yours, mine, to give the opportunity for young people to lead. Because it turns out that when you are willing to cede some power, when you are willing to say, all right, what ideas do you have, let's put you in charge of this. How would you reorganize this? They will seize that opportunity.

And I think part of the message that we have at the Foundation is it is time for us to pass that baton, to pass that torch. They're ready to run the race and they're already running it. Sometimes it's, you know, old heads like me that are getting in the way. But I'm confident and hopeful that you guys are going to clean up our mess.

AMANPOUR: Well, listen, thank you all so much. Binette, Summer, Hager, and President Obama, thank you very much for being with us.

OBAMA: Thank you so much for taking the time.

KELI'IPIO: Thank you for having us.

EISSA: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: The conversation full of important commitments, reminders, and faith in the need and the ability of citizens to engage and to keep up the fight for our democracy. Thank you for watching tonight. I'm Christiane Amanpour live from Athens, Greece. And the news continues on CNN next.