University of Hawaii researchers will collect oral histories of Barack Obama’s childhood and adolescent years in Hawaii.

Beginning in summer 2019 and over the next five years, the Obama Presidency Oral History Project will conduct interviews with roughly 400 people, including senior leaders and policy makers within the administration, as well as elected officials, campaign staff, journalists and other key figures.

The Obama Foundation announced Thursday that UH will partner with the University of Chicago to produce oral histories of Barack and Michelle Obama’s lives before the presidency. New York’s Columbia Center for Oral History at Columbia University will conduct the official oral history of Obama’s years in the nation’s top office.

The product of these three simultaneous projects is expected to be publicly available online at Columbia University by 2026.

“Michelle Obama famously observed, ‘You can’t really understand Barack until you understand Hawaiʻi,’”UH President David Lassner said in a press release. “UH and our extraordinary Center for Oral History are looking forward to exploring those early days with those who were part of President Obama’s story.”

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