Former President Barack Obama delivered a speech on Wednesday in which he painted a picture of optimism in the wake of challenges the nation faces, even if it “doesn’t seem to jibe with the steady stream of bad news and cynicism we’re fed on television and Twitter.” The former president added that the key to these challenges is “engagement.”

Obama delivered the keynote address at the Gates Foundation, sponsored by Bill and Melinda Gates. He spoke of challenges the nation faces, and how he felt they should be addressed.

“Yes, we face some extraordinary challenges,” Obama said. “Economic inequality and a changing climate. Terrorism and mass migration. The rise of nationalist thought, xenophobic sentiment, and a populist politics that too often pits ‘us’ against ‘them’ — a politics that threatens to turn good people away from the kind of collective action that has always driven human progress.”

He added that what’s needed “more than anything” was “the engagement of everyone who wants to see a better future for our children.”