Former US president, Barack Obama and Manchester United and England striker, Marcus Rashford met virtually via a Zoom meeting organised by Penguin Books. Their discussion also focused on the importance of giving back to your local community and the positive impact of reading, as well as other themes from the president’s memoir, A Promised Land.
In the meeting, the former United States president praised England forward for his work tackling child food poverty and further went on to discuss the power of young people; Rashford, 23, last year spearheaded a prominent campaign to tackle child food poverty in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic. It led to 1.7 million vulnerable children being supported by a £520m government scheme and other projects have helped deliver 130 million meals. He has also launched a food education and cooking project for children, “Full-Time Meals”.
Obama said: “A lot of the young people I meet – including Marcus – they’re ahead of where I was when I was 23. They’re already making changes and being positive forces in their communities.”
Rashford said: “It’s quite surreal, isn’t it? I’m sitting in my kitchen in Manchester, speaking to President Obama. But, immediately, he made me feel at ease.
“It wasn’t long before I realised just how aligned our experiences as children were in shaping the men you see today – adversity, obstacles and all. I genuinely enjoyed every minute of it. When President Obama speaks, all you want to do is listen.”
The conversation, which was moderated by broadcaster and author June Sarpong, will be released in full on Penguin UK’s YouTube channel at 2 pm on Friday.