The Power To Make Change


Barack Obama and Marcus Rashford speak on Zoom (c) Penguin Random House

President Barack Obama and Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford MBE have met for the first time in a Zoom conversation organised by Penguin Books, and both talk about the positive impact reading has had on their lives…

The conversation between President Obama and Marcus Rashford will be released on Friday May 28 at 2pm as a Penguin podcast.

The two men discussed some of the themes in the President’s memoir, A Promised Land, including the power that young people have to make change, the positive impact that reading can have and the importance of giving back to your local community. They also talked about some shared experiences, as both were raised by single mothers.

The conversation, moderated by broadcaster and author June Sarpong OBE, will be released in full on Penguin UK’s YouTube at 2pm on Friday 28 May.

During the call, President Obama talked about how young people can make change through small gestures.

Barack 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.

Both President Obama and Marcus Rashford discussed the positive impact that reading had had on their lives, with Rashford stating, “Through books, you can grow yourself in whichever way you want…. Books allowed me to do it my own way.”

President Barack Obama was the 44th President of the United States and the first Black man to hold that office. He is the author of two previous New York Times bestselling books, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope, and the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. Last year, he published the first volume of his presidential memoirs, A Promised Land, which was a bestseller around the world.

Marcus Rashford MBE who has campaigned to #endchildfoodpoverty said,

“I mean, 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 full podcast will be available on YouTube at 2pm, May 28.

Allison Hay

I joined the My Weekly team ten years ago, and I love the variety of topics we cover both online and in the magazine. I manage the digital content for the brand, sharing features and information on the website, social media and in our digital newsletters. I also work for Your Best Ever Christmas - perfect as it's my favourite time of year!