On January 20, 2009, millions of people around the world gathered around their televisions to watch Barack Obama make history and become the first African-American to take the Oath of Office of the President of the United States of America. In the following months, Obama laid the groundwork for the changes he had promised to bring to the country during his campaign.
As Commander in Chief, Obama steered the nation through an economic crisis, overhauled the way the U.S. works with other nations, set a new policy for the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan and pushed for education and health-care reform. President Obama traveled to Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. In his travels, he sought to promote international cooperation. In addition, Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. She is the first Hispanic to serve on the nation’s highest court.
Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. His father, Barack Obama, Sr., was born and raised in Kenya and his mother, Ann Dunham, grew up in Kansas. After graduating from Columbia University and Harvard Law School, Obama worked as a lawyer in Chicago, Illinois. In 1996, he was elected to the Illinois State Senate, and in 2004, won a seat on the U.S. Senate. He ran an historic presidential campaign in 2008, receiving the most votes of any candidate in U.S. history. In October 2009—just ten months into his first term—he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Obama and his wife, Michelle, are the parents of two daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7.
For revitalizing the image of the United States around the world and ushering in a new era of American politics, President Barack Obama is a nominee for TFK Person of the Year 2009.