Young people in cities like Mumbai, Seoul give me hope: Obama
United Nations: US President Barack Obama on Tuesday said young people in cities like Mumbai, Seoul and Jakarta, who are eager to use their knowledge for the benefit of mankind, have given him "hope" about the world.
Obama addressed world leaders from the UN General Assembly hall, his fourth and last address to a global audience before the November 6 presidential elections.
"What gives me the most hope is not the actions of leaders, it is the people I've seen. The American troops who have risked their lives and sacrificed their limbs for strangers half a world away. The students in Jakarta and Seoul who are eager to use their knowledge to benefit humankind... The young people in the favelas of Rio and the schools of Mumbai whose eyes shine with promise," Obama said.
"These men, women and children of every race and every faith remind me that for every angry mob that gets shown on television, there are billions around the globe who share similar hopes and dreams. They tell us that there is a common heartbeat to humanity," the president said.
The progress that he witnessed during his four years as the president gives him "hope about the world we live in."
Outlining the significant achievements of his presidency, Obama said the war in Iraq is over, American troops have come home, the nation has begun a transition in Afghanistan and America and its allies will end the war on schedule in 2014.
"Al Qaeda has been weakened and Osama bin Laden is no more. Nations have come together to lock down nuclear materials, and America and Russia are reducing our arsenals. I've seen hard choices made from Naypyidaw to Cairo to Abidjan to put more power in the hands of citizens," he said.
He noted that economic challenge has brought the world together to broaden prosperity. Through the G-20, developed nations have partnered with emerging countries to keep the world on the path of recovery.
"So much attention in our world turns to what divides us. That's what we see on the news, and that consumes our political debates. But when you strip that all away, people everywhere long for the freedom to determine their destiny; the dignity that comes with work; the comfort that comes from faith; and the justice that exists when governments serve their people and not the other way around," he said.
Just as he had begun his 30 minute speech with the memory of slain American Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, he closed his address with the promise that long after Steven's killers are brought to justice, his legacy will live on in the lives he touched.
"In the tens of thousands who marched against violence through the streets of Benghazi; in the Libyans who changed their Facebook photo to one of Chris; in the sign that read, simply, "Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans," he said.