- The Washington Times - Monday, May 22, 2017

Former President Barack Obama will leap back onto the world stage Thursday to join German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a forum at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

The event titled “Being Involved in Democracy: Taking on Responsibility Locally and Globally” puts Mr. Obama in the spotlight in Europe at the same time as President Trump, underscoring the dramatic shift in the U.S. in the last four months.

The forum is sponsored by the Obama Foundation.

Mr. Trump is traveling around the Middle East and Europe, visiting Saudi Arabia, Israel and Vatican City in Rome in an effort unite three world religions. He also will attend a NATO meeting in Brussels and G-7 summit in Sicily.

The forum in Berlin returns Mr. Obama to the Brandenburg Gate, which has been the site of pivotal speeches throughout history, including President John F. Kennedy declaring “Ich bin ein Berliner” and President Ronald Reagan declaring “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

Mr. Obama wanted to give a speech at the Brandenburg Gate during the 2008 presidential race but was blocked by Ms. Merkel because she didn’t think he should give a campaign speech at the nonpartisan landmark. He instead spoke at the nearby Victoria Column.

As president in 2013, Mr. Obama did get a chance to deliver an address in front of the 18th century neoclassical arch. “Hello, Berlin,” he greeted the crowed before making a call for the West to take on global issues.

This time, Mr. Obama will discuss the importance of young people getting involved in activism to better local communities and the world, according to the Obama Foundation.

Mr. Trump is scheduled to visit Germany in July for a G-20 leaders meeting in Hamburg.

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