Former president urges optimism and focus on progress at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation conference, despite shadow cast by Trump’s UN speech

There’s never been a better time to be alive, the former US president Barack Obama told an audience of musicians, activists, comedians, innovators and royalty, gathered at the Lincoln Center in Manhattan on 20 September.

Despite the “extraordinary challenges” the world is facing – from growing economic inequality and climate change to mass migration and terrorism – “if you had to choose any moment in history in which to be born, you would choose right now. The world has never been healthier, or wealthier, or better educated or in many ways more tolerant or less violent,” he said in his speech, at an event for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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