Obama Says Friendship With Britain ‘Will Endure’ at Stanford

President Barack Obama gave a rousing speech on innovation and technology at Stanford University on Friday, managing to stay on-topic despite Britain's historic decision to leave the European Union and the global stock market plummeting as a result. 

As headliner for the seventh annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Stanford University's Memorial Auditorium, the president hobnobbed with a slew of tech luminaries, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and AOL co-founder Steve Case. He also had kind words to say about Stanford University students, noting the diverse crowd.

"Some of you are from teeming cities, others are working in small villages," he said. "But you have that same spark." 

Obama used the summit as a backdrop to encourage diversity and the global exchange of ideas. 

"You look at this auditorium, and you’re all from different races and backgrounds and religions," he said.

Memorial Auditorium on the Stanford campus was packed with inventors and investors Thursday. Seven hundred entrepreneurs from across 170 countries were given access to some of Silicon Valley’s primary influencers.

Along with the chance to pitch ideas, the summit teed up innovators to win cash prizes and make deals with potential investors. Obama urged attendees to make sure every innovator is given a chance, regardless of race or gender.

"I believe we are better off in a world where we are trading and inventing and communicating, and sharing ideas," he said. "It also means cultures are colliding and sometimes it's disruptive and people get worried."

Those worries, however, pale in comparison to the benefit of breaking down barriers, Obama stressed.

The president's speech at one point drifted toward the so-called "Brexit" vote in Europe. Obama had released a statement earlier in the day that said he respected the voters' decision, and he repeated those sentiments during his speech.

Obama said the special relationship the two nations have "will endure" and revealed that he had also spoken with German Chancellor Angele Merkel. 

The president had landed at Moffett Field in Mountain View on Thursday evening for his third trip this year to the Bay Area.

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese was among local dignitaries who greeted the president.

Obama attended Democratic fundraisers during his last two visits to the Bay Area in February and April.

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