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Obama to make 1st Post-Presidency appearance

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(NBC) -

Former President Barack Obama is scheduled to make his first public appearance since leaving the White House on Monday, with plans to hold a conversation at the University of Chicago.

Obama is expected to discuss community organizing and civic engagement with “young leaders from area schools,” according to a release announcing the event.

Beginning at 11 a.m. at the school’s Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, the discussion is invitation-only, but a television feed will be provided.

"This event is part of President Obama’s post-presidency goal to encourage and support the next generation of leaders driven by strengthening communities around the country and the world," his office said in a statement.

Former advisors said the 44th commander in chief is not expected to criticize current President Donald Trump, who has tried to dismantle several of Obama's chief accomplishments, including the Affordable Care Act.

Instead, Obama will focus on supporting activism in the “next generation of leaders.”

“His mission is going to be to inspire these young people and there’ll be a diverse group, including Republicans as well as Democrats, but to inspire them to take ownership of this political process and really get involved,” said former White House advisor David Axelrod, who now serves as the director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.

Several students at the South Side campus said they were eager to hear from Obama, who has been seen attending various events since leaving office, but has yet to make a public appearance in any official capacity.

“I’d like to see if he has anything in store for Chicago as a city, because I think there are a lot of things going on right now that I’d like to hear his opinion about,” said U of C student Zoe Dervin.

“I’d just be interested to hear sort of how he is going to be involved now that he’s in a different role,” another student added.

Monday’s event will serve as another homecoming of sorts in several ways, as the former president taught constitutional law at the Hyde Park institution for several years before entering politics.

The University of Chicago will also house his future presidential library, to be built in nearby Jackson Park – both conveniently located near the Obama family’s home in the Kenwood neighborhood.

Obama was last in Chicago in February for meetings on his library, according to a source. That visit marked his first hometown trip since delivering his final address in office from McCormick Place in January.

“I’m immensely proud that his last speech as president was here in the city of Chicago and his first major address in his post-presidency is here in the city of Chicago,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Friday.

Obama was expected to arrive in Chicago on Sunday. While details of his schedule outside Monday’s event were not immediately available, former first lady and Chicago native Michelle Obama was not expected to accompany him.

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