Barack Obama – Significant facts
Famous as: Politician
Full Name: Barack Hussein Obama II
Nicknames: Bama, Barry, Rock
Date of Birth: August 4 1961
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Race or Ethnicity: Luo Kenyan/English
Father: Barack Obama Sr.
Mother: Ann Dunham
Wife: Michelle Obama
Education: Harvard Law School
The most popular leader of the modern era
Barack Obama is one of the most popular persons of the contemporary world. He is the 44th president of the US. Besides, Obama is the first African-American president in history of America. His life is a typical American story. He possesses values from the heartland. He was brought up in a middle class yet strong family. He used education and hard work to move ahead.
Barack Obama: Family and Early Life
Barack Obama was born as Barack Hussein Obama II in Hawaii. He was born on August 4 1961. His mother Ann Dunham and father Barack Obama Sr. met as students at the University of Hawaii. Obama’s father was a Black Kenyan while his mother was a White American. When he was just two years old, his father left the family to pursue his studies at the Harvard University. (From there, he returned to Kenya, lived there and died in an automobile accident in 1982) Obama’s mother married Lolo Soetoro of Indonesia. Obama lived in Indonesia with his mother and stepfather from age six through ten. There, he attended both Catholic and Muslim schools. Perhaps, he benefitted a lot from the multiplicity of cultures. As his mother was a little concerned about his education, she sent him back to Hawaii where her parents lived. Obama lived with his maternal grandparents Stanley and Madelyn Dunham. He attended the prestigious Punahou School in Hawaii. He enrolled for fifth grade and studied there until graduating from high school. He was good but not an outstanding student. He was more interested in playing basketball. Since his grandparents were both nonbelievers, he was not raised in an orthodox household.
Barack Obama left to Los Angeles and enrolled at Occidental College for his freshman and sophomore years. Later, he joined Columbia University in New York City. He graduated with a major in Political Science in the year 1983. He was very interested in political and international affairs. Thereafter, he spent one year as a researcher with an international business consulting firm. Later, he accepted an offer to serve as a community organizer in South Side. South Side was Chicago’s highly poor and Black area.
In 1988, Barack Obama joined Harvard Law School. He excelled as a student and graduated magna cum laude. He also won the university election and became the president of the Harvard Law Review (1990-91). He took pride as the first African American President of the Law Review. Eventually, Obama grabbed enormous media attention. He also got a contract from publishers Random House to write a book on race relations. The book, “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” hit the shelves in 1995. It turned out to be more of a personal memoir. He particularly focused on his efforts to come to terms with his self identity as a Black man raised by Whites.
Love, marriage and children of Barack Obama
When Barack Obama was undergoing his summer internship at Sidley and Austin law firm in Chicago, he met Michelle Robinson. She was a South Side native and had graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. In fact, she supervised his work at the law firm. He wooed her passionately. They married in the year 1992 after a four-year courtship. The couple settled in the racially integrated and middle class Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago. The Obamas have two daughters, Malia Ann born in 1998 and Natasha born in 2001. They have always been a successfully married couple.
Political career of Barack Obama
Barack Obama initiated his political career as an Illinois state senator. He served the position from 1997 to 2004. His hardball political tactics made him quite popular among Chicago political circles. He became the US Senator for Illinois in 2004 when he was elected to Congress. He did so by beating the Republican candidate Alan Keyes. Thereafter, he served on a number of Senate committees.
At the 2004 Democratic national convention, he delivered an inspiring keynote speech to support John Kerry. After he delivered this stirring speech, he shot to national fame. He ran for president in the 2008 elections. He defeated a Democratic primary field that included Hillary Clinton. At the Democratic Convention in August 2008, Obama named Joe Biden, Delaware senator, to be his running mate. Together, they defeated the Republican nominees Sarah Palin and John McCain in the US November general election. Ultimately, Barack Obama became the 44th President of the US on 20 January 2009.
President of the United States
President Barack Obama faced significant challenges when he took office. The economy of the country was in recession. The outgoing Bush administration had started to implement a controversial ‘bail-out’ package meant to help the financial institutions that were struggling. As far as foreign affairs were concerned, there was ongoing instability in the Middle East. The US had troops deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Besides, warfare had broken out between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip.
In his first term, the President was able to work together with Congress to enhance the economy of the US. Barack Obama also passed health care reform and withdrew the US troops from Iraq. He spent a considerable amount of time and effort trying to negotiate with Congressional Republicans on budgets, taxes and the deficit. However, most of the efforts made were unsuccessful. Again, in 2012 general elections, Obama won. He began his second term focusing on gun control and immigration reform.
Barack Obama: Less known facts
- He was known as “O’Bomber” at high school for his basketball skills.
- He does not like ice cream much as he worked at Baskin-Robbins as a teen.
- In teenage, he experimented with marijuana and cocaine.
- He can speak Indonesian and a little Spanish.
- Obama promised his wife Michelle that he would quit smoking before running for president. However, he was unable to do so. Later, he quit smoking in 2010.
- He is left-handed.
- Obama is the first ever U.S. president to tweet.
- He owns a pair of boxing gloves that was owned by Muhammad Ali.
- The three men he admires the most are Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln.
Achievements and Awards
- In 2006, he won a Grammy for the Best Spoken Word for the CD version of his autobiography “Dreams from My Father”.
- He is named one of “100 most influential people in the world” by TIME Magazine (2005, 2007, 2013, 2014)
- He was chosen as one of New Statesman Magazine’s “10 people would change the world” (2005).
- In 2008, he won his second Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for “The Audacity of Hope”.
- In October 2009, he won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Famous Quotes by Barack Obama
“We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it.”
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the Change that we seek.”