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President Obama says he has a consistent message for White House interns and other young people: Be optimistic about the future.

"I always tell them that despite how hard sometimes the world seems to be — and all you see on television is war and conflict and poverty and violence — the truth is that if you had to choose when to be born ... now would be the time," Obama told a youth town hall meeting Sunday in Malaysia, saying the audience reminded him of young people who work at the White House.

Why be optimistic?

Said Obama: "Because the world is less violent, it is healthier, it is wealthier, it is more tolerant and it offers more opportunity than any time in human history for more people than any time in human history."

There are challenges to be sure, Obama said, citing climate change and human trafficking as examples. But they will be met as others have in the past.

"And there will still be problems 20 or 30 years from now," Obama told the town hall in Malaysia. "But they will be different problems, because you will have solved many of the problems that exist today."

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