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Universities Partner to Produce Official Oral History of Obama Presidency

The Obama Foundation has tapped Columbia University’s Center for Oral History Research to produce the former president’s official oral history.

Aimed at providing a comprehensive, enduring record of the decisions, actions, and effects of Barack Obama’s historic administration, the project will also include the University of Hawaii and the University of Chicago to serve as contributing partners in documenting Obama’s early life in Hawaii and his years in Chicago, respectively.

“Michelle Obama famously observed, ‘you can’t really understand Barack until you understand Hawaii,'” University of Hawaii President David Lassner said in a statement. “UH and our extraordinary Center for Oral History are looking forward to exploring those early days with those who were part of President Obama’s story.”

Over the next five years, the project will conduct interviews with some 400 people, including senior leaders and policy makers from the Obama administration, as well as elected officials, campaign staff, journalists and other key figures outside the White House.

The project will also incorporate interviews with individuals representing different dimensions of daily American life, whose perspectives will enable the archive to include how the general public was affected by the Obama administration’s decisions.

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