US President Barack Obama speaks at The University of Queensland. Photo: TPD Media.
US President Barack Obama speaks at The University of Queensland. Photo: TPD Media.
16 November 2014

US President Barack Obama urged young Queenslanders to “keep raising their voices” in a landmark speech at The University of Queensland on Saturday, 15 November.

President Obama addressed a room full of youth from universities, schools and community groups from across Brisbane on the topic of US leadership in the Asia-Pacific.

“It is great to be here at UQ.  I know that we are joined by students from universities across this city, and some high school students, as well,” President Obama said.

“This university is recognised as one of the world’s great institutions of science and teaching.

“Your research led to the vaccine that protects women and girls around the world from cervical cancer.  Your innovations have transformed how we treat disease and how we unlock new discoveries.”

President Obama addressed his government’s desire to improve human rights and combat climate change, inviting the young audience to join him.

“Combating climate change cannot be the work of governments alone,” he said.

“Citizens, especially the next generation, you have to keep raising your voices, because you deserve to live your lives in a world that is cleaner and that is healthier and that is sustainable.

“But that is not going to happen unless you are heard.”

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Høj said it was an honour for the University to host President Obama.

“Even for the students, with long lives ahead, I doubt it is an exaggeration to describe this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said.

“Consider deeply how President Obama’s thoughts may impact on your futures.

“Make your own mini-summits, keeping the intellectual energy from this event alive.

“Because long after the motorcades leave town, your potential for collaborative, transcultural leadership will remain – and people of my generation will savour the days when that potential is realised.”

A full transcript of President Obama’s speech can be found here:

Watch the speech online here:

Media: Senior Communications Officer Katie Rowney, or 3365 3439.