Barack Hussein Obama II (i/ /; born August 4, 1961), is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned after his election to the presidency in November 2008.
A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.
Obama served three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, he ran for United States Senate in 2004. Several events brought him to national attention during the campaign, including his victory in the March 2004 Democratic primary and his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004. He won election to the U.S. Senate in November 2004. His presidential campaign began in February 2007, and after a close campaign in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries against Hillary Rodham Clinton, he won his party's nomination. In the 2008 general election, he defeated Republican nominee John McCain and was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009. In November 2012, he was elected to a second term as president, defeating Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
As president, Obama signed economic stimulus legislation in the form of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February 2009. Other domestic policy initiatives include the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a major piece of health care reform legislation which he signed into law in March 2010, and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which forms part of his financial regulatory reform efforts, which he signed in July 2010. In foreign policy, Obama began a gradual withdrawal of troops from Iraq, increased troop levels in Afghanistan, and signed an arms control treaty with Russia. On October 8, 2009, Obama was named the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Stanley Ann Dunham (November 29, 1942 – November 7, 1995), the mother of Barack Obama, was an American anthropologist who specialized in economic anthropology and rural development. Dunham was nicknamed Anna, later known as Dr. Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro, and finally Ann Dunham Sutoro. Born in Kansas, Dunham spent her childhood in California, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas and her teenage years in Mercer Island, Washington, and much of her adult life in Hawaii and Indonesia.
Dunham studied at the University of Hawaii and the East-West Center and attained a bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. in anthropology. Dunham's research focused on women's work in cottage industries on the island of Java and blacksmithing in Indonesia. To address the problem of poverty in rural villages, she created microcredit programs while working as a consultant for the United States Agency for International Development. Dunham was also employed by the Ford Foundation in Jakarta and she consulted with the Asian Development Bank in Pakistan. Towards the latter part of her life, she worked with Bank Rakyat Indonesia where she helped apply her research to the largest microfinance program in the world.
After her son assumed the presidency, interest renewed in Dunham's work: The University of Hawaii held a symposium about her research; an exhibition of Dunham's Indonesian batik textile collection toured the United States; and in December 2009, Duke University Press published Surviving against the Odds: Village Industry in Indonesia, a book based on Dunham's 1992 dissertation. Obama also credits his political views to his mother's lessons to him in his formative years.