Former President of the United States Barack Obama will visit Australia and New Zealand next month.
According to a press release, Obama will speak at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland on March 22 and in Sydney on March 23.
The event is being hosted by the New Zealand-United States Council, a not-for-profit supporting businesspeople and academics committed to investing in the NZ-US relationship.
“President Obama’s presidency had an extraordinary impact on the world and during his service, New Zealand’s deep friendship with the United States was strengthened politically, culturally, in trade and investment, innovation and security,” said Council Chairman Leon Grice.
As president, Obama never set foot in New Zealand and visited Australia a total of three times. In 2011, he met with then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Canberra and announced a new military cooperation agreement in Darwin. In 2014, he attended the G-20 Summit Meeting in Brisbane.
Obama has faced some scrutiny for his speaking fees and choice of audiences after it was revealed he was paid US$1.2 million to give three speeches to Wall Street firms.
World: "After Clinton/Goldman speech debacle, Dem leaders can't make themselves look any more chummy with Wall St"
Obama: "Hold my beer" pic.twitter.com/DLrj5QYQUA
— David Sirota (@davidsirota) September 18, 2017
At this point, it is unclear how much he will be paid for the speaking engagements in Auckland and Sydney or how much it will cost to attend. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Sydney event will be held at the Art Gallery of NSW.
Last year, Canadians paid top dollar to see Obama speak at a sold-out event in Montreal.
CTV News reports that tickets originally went on sale from between CA$57 and CA$373, but that they were soon being sold on the aftermarket for up to CA$1,100.
When President Trump’s reign is (thankfully) over, it will be interesting to see what he does with himself. Will Trump go back to his hotels and reality TV show? What would his post-presidential speeches be about – his greatest hits?
George W. Bush has gotten into painting while Obama has been living his best life with trips around the world, including a kitesurfing session with Sir Richard Branson.