26 Quotes From Barack Obama’s Speech At The Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture

Last Updated on November 14, 2019

Barack Obama is an amazing speaker who can inspire, provide hope, and be honest about what needs to be done to move humanity forward in a way that benefits everyone. It’s no wonder he spoke at the Mandela lecture. Nelson Mandela was – and still is, a symbol for equality, justice, and dignity. Following are 26 quotes from Barack Obama’s speech that had me nodding my head in agreement.

1. How Wealth Is Divided In The World

barack obama wealth

With equal opportunity, I wonder how that statistic would change.

2. We All Know Racial Discrimination Still Exists

barack obama racial discrimination

It’s not just in the United States or South Africa. It’s all over the world that racial discrimination still exists. While we can’t blame everything on that, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s there and work towards eliminating it.

3. Women And Girls Are Still Suffering In Many Ways

Barack Obama quote on women and girls

There is no denying that women have a lot of struggles men don’t have.

One question I’ve always had is how can people get paid less for doing the same work other people are doing? How is that justified rationally? It makes no sense.

4. Isn’t It Ironic?

Barack Obama Quote On How Things Stay The Same

5. Should Money Influence Which Policies Are Pursued And Whose Interests Should Be Ignored?

Barack Obama political inluence

Shouldn’t we all have an influence on things that matter most in our country?

6. Barack Obama’s Quote On What He Believes

Barack Obama Quote I Believe

7. We Must Work Together On Issues That Affect Us All

Barack Obama Quote work together

This just seems like a no-brainer to me. In order to tackle world issues, the world has to work together. I don’t understand how people can’t recognize the fact that certain things affect us all, not just them or their country.

8. A Bright Future Depends On Cooperation, Not Domination

Barack Obama quote on the future

Again, this just seems like a no-brainer. Nobody is better than anyone else, and nobody should dominate anyone else. When that kind of mentality sets in, people do insane, terrible things, as we’ve seen in our history. Who wants that to happen again? Things should get better, not worse.

9. Critical Thinking And Acceptance Will Go A Long Way

Barack Obama quote turning on others

Everyone needs to think for themselves. Some people are easily convinced one way or the other by people in power, but it’s important to make your own decisions based on what you feel to be true.

I think the goal should be to accept people as different and be OK with that. When that can happen, we can stop turning on people who are different than us and we can stop causing problems that make our world a less rewarding place to live in.

10. Why Can’t The Wealthy Help Out?

quote barack obama

I love this quote from Barack Obama.

I’ve never understood how some people with millions or billions of dollars don’t want to part with any of it for someone else.

I’ve noticed that the people who have the least to give, give the most. It’s absolute insanity.

11. It’s A Gift To Be Able To Help Others

Barack Obama Quote help People

In my experience, there are a few things that really make you feel alive. Being loved and giving to others are at the top of my list.

Wealthy people should enjoy the fact that they can give themselves the life they want, but they can also help give other people the life they need – or even want – and they can do it in a huge way. They literally have the power to change someone’s life, and that should be enough to get them to contribute financially when they feel compelled to do so.

12. Everyone Deserves An Opportunity

Barack Obama Talent Everywhere Quote

This is just another reason that we need to cooperate together and make things more equal. Some people who have amazing talent are not able to use it because they are not given an opportunity. What if they were able to change the world in a positive way and we are missing out on that?

13. We Need To Think Outside Of The Box

Barack Obama AI Jobs

I’m not totally sure why this quote from Barack Obama resonated with me so much. I suppose it’s because I consider myself a creative person and the thought of being imaginative and finding new ways for people to find work that is meaningful appeals to me.

It just another reason to find a way to give people all over the world equal opportunity. Some people out there are going to be able to come up with jobs that will enrich other people’s lives if we give them the opportunity to do so.

14. A Job Gives People A Sense Of Place And Purpose

This is why it’s so important we get creative and figure out how our gifts and talents can be best utilized. A world with a bunch of miserable, purposeless people walking around would be a world none of us would want to live in.

15. Barack Obama Shouldn’t Even Need To Say This

Barack Obama all human

Nobody should need to say this.

We are all humans. Our differences are on the surface, but we all are made of the same stuff, have feelings, have needs, have dreams and hopes – and we all deserve to have our needs met.

16. There Are Some Simple Truths In This World

Barack Obama Quotes Basic Truths

I used to talk about basic truths all the time. They are facts that never change, no matter how much some people want them to change. There are so many basic truths that apply to everyone.

For instance, we are all human is a basic truth.

17. Why The Need To Put Other People’s Heritage Down?

barack obama quote on heritage

This was another quote from Barack Obama that had me nodding my head in agreement.

Why else would people be so upset about traditions, values, and habits that other people hold?

18. Yes, Yes I Do…

Barack Obama on people who put others down

When you are compassionate and caring, you don’t feel a need to put other people down and make yourself look amazing. You resonate with other people – or, at the very least, respect them.

When people are cruel or mean, they can’t have a big heart that is ready to help, acknowledge, or validate. Maybe they are afraid of looking weak or challenging their beliefs? Or, maybe they are afraid of something else.

19. We Need To Stop The Fear

Barack Obama Quote fear

Fear does nothing to promote a better world. It makes people less than what they should be and stifles their happiness, growth, compassion, and contribution.

Anyone who promotes fear on a daily basis must want to stifle those things. So, we need to counteract people who thrive solely off making other people feel scared.

20. A Basic Truth…

Barack Obama Compassion

People from other countries are not aliens. They are people. They are striving for something better. Someone with compassion and respect can see that. It’s important to treat them with compassion and respect at all times. It won’t impede your ability to uphold a law.

21. It’s About All Of Us, Not Just Him Or Her

Barack Obama Democracy

22. Thanks For Saying It!

Barack Obama Facts Quote

Facts are important. Reality is important. They are both very important when it comes to conversations and solving problems.

When someone ignores facts and reality, then you can’t find common ground to talk to them and that’s when everyone suffers.

23. We Can’t Just Make Stuff Up

Barack Obama truth

Again, everyone suffers when we make stuff up. It’s not necessary or ethical, especially when it comes to big issues.

24. How Are They Getting Away With This?

barack obama quote on lying politicians

Unless you are blindly following people with a cult-like attitude, you have to be able to see when people are lying – and then piling lies on top of their lies.

The people who do not call out liars are the ones who create a disastrous path where liars rule and skew reality. It’s important to call bullshit when you see it.

25. Barack Obama’s Message To The Young People

Barack Obama quote for young people

26. Don’t Give Up On Things Working Out For The Best For EVERYONE

Barack Obama Love

Hate is there, but love comes more naturally.

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