Dalai Lama, Pope, Angela Merkel


  • Obama said his ideal group of world leaders text would include some of his closest presidential allies.
  • Obama tell the Skimm he would have the Dalai Lama, Pope Francis and Angela Merkel.
  • He also said he could include Queen Elizabeth II because of his dry sense of humor.
  • See more stories on the Insider business page.

Former President Barack Obama has said his ideal hypothetical group conversation with world leaders would include Pope Francis, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“The Dalai Lama, I love this guy, Pope Francis, a really good man”, Obama said in an interview with the Skimm. Obama also said he might include Queen Elizabeth II “because she has a drier sense of humor than you think.”

Obama met the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, several times during and after his presidency, including welcome him to the White House in 2015 and met with him in 2016 despite objections from the Chinese government. The Dalai Lama lives in exile in India.

The former president welcomed Pope Francis to the White House in 2015, a visit to Washington where the Pope also made a rare address to a joint session of the United States Congress.

“I was just saying I noticed you are all behaving a lot better than usual,” Obama joked with the White House press corps in the Oval Office as he sat next to the Pope.

Obama had a close diplomatic relationship with Merkel, who shared her cerebral approach to issues and her largely weighted disposition, in contrast to the much rockier and more strained relationship Merkel negotiated with former President Donald Trump.

During Obama’s presidency, the United States and Germany worked together on important global issues, including the response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the fight against ISIS and the refugee crisis. , and recovery from the global financial crisis.

“You have been a trusted partner throughout my presidency – longer than any world leader – and I appreciate your judgment,” Obama told Merkel in April 2016 towards the end of his presidency. “Thank you for your commitment to our alliance and to the values ​​and human rights we stand for. And I am grateful for our personal friendship.”

Obama also maintained the United States’ “special relationship” with the royal family.

In 2009, Obama offered the queen an iPod with historical video footage of his previous visits to the United States dating back to the 1950s, as well as his 2009 inaugural address and 2008 address to the Democratic National Convention.

And in her 2018 memoir “Becoming”, former First Lady Michelle Obama describes accidentally violating royal protocol by putting his arm around the queen as a sign of affection and support. She said, however, that Her Majesty did not seem offended and returned the gesture.


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