The President presented Prime Minister Cameron with a custom Shinola men's watch featuring the Seal of the President of the United States engraved on the back, presented in a wooden Shinola box customized with the Presidential Seal; and? an American-made bison leather duffel bag, monogrammed with the Prime Minister's initials, featuring a luggage tag with the Seal of the President of the United States. The bag contained three cans of U.S. Open tennis balls and a pair of sport towels personalized with U.S.-U.K. friendship flags.
President Obama departed Winfield House at 9:10 a.m. on this chilly London day. The motorcade is rolling toward the Globe Theatre, where the president commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death.
After a 20-minute drive that included scenic views of the River Thames, the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament, President Obama's motorcade arrived at Shakespeare's Globe.
At Shakespeare's Globe, the president headed straight to the open-air theater for a quick tour and then a short performance. Obama and his tour guide stood on the stage chatting, as they surveyed the ornate replica of the original Globe Theatre. Most of the conversation was inaudible, but Obama asked a steady stream of questions, inquiring about what time performances generally occurred and seeking other details about Shakespeare. The small theater has an open area in front of the stage and simple wooden benches in the round on multiple levels for seating. Elaborate murals and gold accents cover the walls. After just a couple minutes, the tour concluded. "It was so nice to meet you," the president said to the guide. "You did a great job." Fifteen actors then took the stage for a brief performance. "Mr. President, good morning," one of the actors said. "Good morning,"Obama said. The president, Josh Earnest and Ben Rhodes stood in front of the stage during the performance. The president watched with rapt attention, a slight smile on his face. Obama was treated to a couple instrumental songs and excerpts from Hamlet, complete with a little "to be or not to be..." As the performance concluded, Obama said,"Hey!" and began clapping. One of the actors told the president it had been an honor. "Absolutely." Obama said. "I don't want it to stop. Apparently I have to work." With that, the pool was led out of the theater. At 9:58, the president's motorcade was rolling. The White House provides additional background about the theater: The original Globe Theatre was built not far from the site of the current theater in 1599, by Shakespeare's theater company. The original was first destroyed by fire, rebuilt and eventually demolished in 1644. American actor and director, Sam Wanamaker (1919-1993), worked for decades to realize his dream of a reconstructed Globe; ultimately the theater was only finished in 1997, four years after Wanamaker died. Queen Elizabeth II opened the theater, which holds 1400 and is considered to be a faithful replica of the original theater; it has the only thatched roof allowed in London since the Great Fire of 1866. The President visits on the 400th anniversary of the death of the Bard. Among the Globe's commemorations this weekend is the homecoming of a "Globe To Globe" production of Hamlet, a traveling troupe which has attempted to perform Hamlet in every country in the world. Globe to Globe will be performing songs and excerpts from Hamlet for the President this morning.
After an 11-minute drive, President Obama arrived at the Royal Horticulture Halls, where this morning's town hall will be held.
The White House passes along the name of Obama's tour guide at the theater: Patrick Spottiswoode, Director of Education for Globe Theatre
The president is staying here at the Royal Horticultural Halls for an interview and his closed-press meeting with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
President Obama departed the Royal Horticultural Halls. Crowds had gathered nearby, waiting to catch a glimpse of the motorcade. Under a cloudy sky, the motorcade is on the move to an unknown destination. Stay tuned. The White Houses passes along an abundance of background information about today's town hall event: The audience for the President's town hall was composed of approximately 550 British youth and young professionals. One portion of the audience was selected by lottery from U.S. Embassy London's Young Leaders in the UK (YLUK) program, which was established by U.S. Ambassador Matthew Barzun in 2015 to deepen and broaden relationships between Americans and British students and young professionals aged 18-30. Another portion was selected by school and university groups that were given blocks of tickets to distribute as they wished to students and young people from their institutions. Among these groups are: GROUPS The Sutton Trust: In partnership with the US-UK Fulbright Commission, the Sutton Trust gives bright, non-privileged state school students interested in attending a U.S. university, a preview of life on a U.S. campus, as well as support in making high quality undergraduate applications to the U.S. 139 Sutton Trust students have been accepted into U.S. universities accessing $33 million in funding. 14 Sutton Trust students will attend the town hall event. Amos Bursary: A charity that gives young black men scholarships for university, mentorship, leadership training and the tools they need to thrive in university and in their careers. Active Change Foundation: Active Change Foundation is a grassroots organization/youth center designed to create a safe space for youth to go and discuss issues. In addition to their award-winning Youth Leadership Programme, their YouTube video "Not in My Name" went viral and made clear that ISIS does not stand for all Muslims. Mulberry School for Girls: Visited the First Lady at the White House in November 2015, following a visit they hosted the summer after the launch of the "Let Girls Learn" initiative. The girls at this school impressed Michelle Obama with their dreams and ambitions to pursue fulfilling lives and careers - even in difficult circumstances, in one of the most deprived boroughs in London and the country. Anti-Tribalism Movement: Inspiring the local community (mostly directed at the Somali diaspora) to look past tribe identity to work together to fight extremism. Their new campaign "Don't Judge, Don't Label" is gaining a lot of momentum. Renaissance Foundation: Ensuring young caregivers with great responsibilities at home caring for sick or disabled parents and siblings are also keeping up academically and developing critical leadership skills. Sixth Form Students: The Ambassador has visited 131 schools and spoken to over 14,000 Sixth Formers (16-18 year olds) for frank and open conversations on U.S. domestic and foreign policy. Students from a number of the schools are in attendance. INDIVIDUALS Maryam Ahmed: The first person in her family to go to university, Maryam studied Engineering at Oxford University where she became the first ethnic minority president of the Oxford University Conservative Association. Alongside her PHD in Biomedical Engineering, Maryam is the co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Cuppr, a technology startup aiming to digitise loyalty cards for independent coffeehouses, and harness artificial intelligence to analyse and reinforce customers' spending patterns. Ali Hashem: Ali is an example of the best kind of politician - he saw a problem in his community, spoke out and made a difference, and was asked to stand for election in his home borough of Hammersmith and Fulhum. Putting his day-job as an accountant to good use, he is also co-founder of DeskNinjas, a social enterprise focused on developing workspace for 'For-Good' startups and entrepreneurs. Additionally, he is the trustee treasurer of Muslim Youth Helpline. Rebecca Bunce: Rebecca Bunce, a member of YLUK, is the co-founder of ICchange Campaign, which calls on the UK government to ratify the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Her role focuses on campaign strategy creation, building a coalition of supporting organizations, presenting and delivering workshops at relevant conferences, and managing volunteers. Simultaneously, she sits on the board of Inclusion London, which works to make London more inclusive to persons with disabilities. Mike Sani: Mike's organisation, Bite the Ballot, was inspired by the Rock the Vote program. Mike has connected projects in the U.S. to groups here in the UK and witnessed young citizens share experiences and work towards great outcomes. Mike will be at the event with a group of the Bite the Ballot team and volunteers. He hopes to take his new 'De-Caf?' (Democracy Cafes) over to the U.S. soon. INTRODUCER Khadija Najefi: Aged 21, Najefi is a final year undergraduate student at King's College, London. She was selected to represent the university on a year abroad to the University of California Berkeley in the last academic year. Along with recently having volunteered at the Jungle Refugee Camp in Calais, she will be spending summer 2016 undertaking a voluntary internship at the Pader Girls Academy in Uganda, that hosts women and children who were held in captive by the Lord's Resistance Army and supported by the King's College, London Santander Award. In addition to her volunteer work, she has participated in the Young Diplomats Forum in Athens 2015 (a branch of the Global Diplomatic Forum), was selected Membership Vice President of UC Berkeley's only co-ed professional Foreign Service fraternity, developed Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls' first Law Society, and was Chair of their Politics Society. With Delta Phi Epsilon she has also co-hosted and promoted events on the human rights of migrants, perspectives on insurgency (with a focus on Boko Haram) and Islamic identity in the West that included academics, students and professors. Her professional experience includes research into international medical organisations, placements at various law firms and legal departments and work at the Immigration Asylum Centre. She has been a delegate and Assistant Crisis Director at Harvard National Model United Nations (MUN) and UC Berkeley's MUN; was a cadet of the Royal Air Force in the Combined Cadet Force with Merchant Taylors' School; and has achieved the Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award.