President Barack Hussein Obama, is not only the first African-American to become US president but also the first from Hawaii to rise to the top US job.
He is also the 27th lawyer to become the US president and the 44th President after George Walker Bush.
Born August 4, 1961 to Barack Hussein Obama I, a black Kenyan, and Ann Dunham, a white American, Barack Obama was raised by his maternal grandparents for most of his childhood life.
His father left the US for Kenya after completing Harvard and his mother remarried an Indonesian oil manager and moved to Jakarta when Barack was only six. He later recounted Indonesia as simultaneously lush and a harrowing exposure to tropical poverty.
Barack returned to Hawaii, where he lived with his grandparents in a small apartment – his grandfather was a furniture salesman and an insurance agent and his grandmother worked in a bank – but Barack managed to get into Punahou School, Hawaii’s top prep academy.
His father wrote to him regularly but, though he travelled around the world on official business for Kenya, he visited only once, when Barack was ten.
Obama later attended Columbia University, became a community organizer for a small Chicago church-based group for three years, helping poor South Side residents cope with a wave of plant closings. He then attended Harvard Law School, and in 1990 became the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review.
He turned down a prestigious judicial clerkship, choosing instead to practice civil-rights law back in Chicago, representing victims of housing and employment discrimination and working on voting-rights legislation. He also taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.
After an unsuccessful bid to enter the US House of Representative, he eventually ran as a Democrat for the state senate seat from his district, which included both Hyde Park and some of the poorest ghettos on the South Side, and won.
In 2004 Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat, representing Illinois from January 2005 to November 2008; he gained national attention by giving a rousing and well-received keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston.
On the back of that, in 2007, he ran against Hillary Rodham Clinton for the presidential slot of the Democrats and won. He subsequently ran for president against Republican John McCain in November 2008 and won. He was sworn into office in as president on January 20, 2009.
Candidate Obama ran his campaign on the slogan ‘Change we can believe in’, propelled by the famous mantra, ‘Yes We Can.’
President Obama is married to Michelle Obama and they have two daughters, Malia and Sasha. He has one half-sister called Maya.
He is originally of Kenyan ancestry on his father’s side and of Irish and English ancestry on his mother’s side.
In 2005, Barack Obama was named, by the New Statesman magazine, as one of the 10 people who will change the world; and was also named by Time Magazine among the 100 most influential people in the world in 2005 and 2007.
His hobbies are basket ball and poker. He had to quit smoking on his wife Michelle’s advice, just before he ran for president.
The CD versions of two of his books, ‘The Audacity of Hope’ (2008) and ‘Dreams from My Father’ (2006), which was actually his memoirs, won Grammies for ‘the best spoken word’ at the separate releases.
His first name, Barack, means ‘blessed by God’ in Arabic; and in Kenya town where his farther was born, the long-brewed Senator brand of beer has been nicknamed Obama. He also shares his surname with a small city in western Japan, which means ‘small shore’ in Japanese.
He is primarily of Kenyan, Irish, and English ancestry.