Barack Hussein Obama II was born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii, to a Kenyan father, Barack Obama Sr., and an American mother, Stanley Ann Dunham. He spent his early years in Hawaii and Indonesia before returning to Honolulu to attend the esteemed Punahou School. After high school, Obama went on to pursue higher education at Occidental College in Los Angeles and later transferred to Columbia University in New York City, where he graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science in 1983.
Following his graduation, Obama worked for a brief period as a financial analyst at the Business International Corporation. He then moved to Chicago to work as a community organizer for several non-profit organizations, focusing on housing and employment issues. In 1988, he entered Harvard Law School, where he excelled academically and was elected the first African-American president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review in 1990. He graduated magna cum laude with a Juris Doctor degree in 1991.
## Law and politics
Upon returning to Chicago, Obama practiced as a [[civil rights]] attorney and taught [[Constitution]]al law at the University of Chicago Law School. He entered the political arena in 1996 when he was elected to the Illinois State Senate as a Democrat, representing the 13th district. During his time in the state senate, he worked on legislation related to healthcare, education, and criminal justice reform.
In 2004, Obama successfully ran for the U.S. [[Senate]], representing Illinois, and gained national attention with his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July that year. His inspiring speech emphasized the importance of unity in America and introduced him to a broader audience. As a Senator, he focused on issues such as energy independence, nuclear non-proliferation, and veterans' care.
Obama's meteoric rise in politics culminated in his election as the 44th President of the United States in 2008. He made history as the first African-American to hold the nation's highest office. His campaign was characterized by the slogan "Yes We Can," which embodied his message of hope and change.
During his presidency (2009-2017), Obama implemented a number of significant domestic policies, including the [[Affordable Care Act (ACA)]] (commonly known as Obamacare), the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the military. He also signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which aimed to address gender-based pay disparities.
In foreign policy, Obama focused on diplomacy and multilateralism. He signed the New START treaty with Russia, aimed at reducing nuclear arsenals, and played a key role in the negotiations leading to the Paris Agreement on [[climate change]]. He also oversaw the killing of Osama bin Laden, the leader of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda who perpetrated the [[September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks]], in 2011.
After completing two terms in office, Obama returned to private life in 2017. He has since devoted his time to writing, public speaking, and philanthropic activities through the Obama Foundation. In 2020, he published his presidential memoir, "A Promised Land," which offers a detailed account of his life and political career up to the end of his first term in the White House.
Throughout his life, Barack Obama has been a symbol of progress and hope for many, both in the United States and around the world. His presidency was marked by a focus on inclusivity, [[social justice]], and diplomacy, leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.