Barack Obama wows his fans at exclusive Sydney dinner

Former US president Barack Obama is seen inside a motorcade in Sydney.

Former US president Barack Obama is seen inside a motorcade in Sydney. Photo: AAP

Barack Obama has given an exclusive address at a Sydney event, with Australian politicians and celebrities sharing snippets of his insights on social media.

The former US president addressed an invitation-only crowd of about 350 people at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on Friday night, with big names such as Australian chef Matt Moran among the exclusive guest list.

Black-and-gold embossed invitation notes for the event promised an evening of “reflection”.

“Change has never been more rapid than it is today. Technology is breaking the traditional rules,” the gold script foretold of the dinner event.


The invite for ‘An Evening with President Barack Obama’

The Sydney visit follows the former president’s three-day trip to New Zealand, where he was gifted a whale tooth pendant at a powhiri – a traditional Maori tribal welcome ceremony – at Government House in Wellington.

“The carved whale tooth was a gift to great orators, and orators that have the ability to move people and entire nations,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Sydney City councillor (and sister of former prime minister Tony Abbott) Christine Forster tweeted photos of Mr Obama kicking back in a velvet lounge chair at the art gallery, as well as a collection of comments from the 44th president of the United States.

Her tweets suggested Mr Obama spoke about the importance of women and young people in a world where “fact, logic, reason” are being tested.

“Young people drive change because they’re not vested in the way things have been. They can imagine how things should be,” Ms Forster tweeted, paraphrasing Mr Obama.

“The problem is they don’t have any faith in existing institutions.”

In another tweet, Ms Forster quoted Mr Obama urging companies to appoint more women to executive positions.

Chef Matt Moran, the owner of ARIA in Sydney, posted a photograph of his dinner place card at the presidential event in an Instagram post.

Mr Moran said he felt “very special” to be “hanging” with Mr Obama.

Before the dinner and speech, Sydney residents tried to catch a glimpse of the former US president, who waved to a crowd as he toured the Sydney Opera House.

A crowd member was heard asking, “How are you enjoying Sydney, Mr President?”

“It’s gorgeous, it’s beautiful, love it,” Mr Obama responded.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also let his Twitter followers know he had time with Mr Obama before the former US president continued his regional visit to Singapore and Japan.

“Welcome back to Australia President Barack Obama,” Mr Turnbull captioned with a photograph of his visit.

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