Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

Barack Obama

This individual is not a direct affiliate of the Berkley Center.

Barack Obama became the forty-fourth president of the United States in January 2009, the first African-American to do so, and won reelection in November 2012, serving until January 2017. After graduating from Columbia University and Harvard Law School, Obama worked as a community organizer in Chicago and became involved in Democratic politics. He taught at the University of Chicago Law School (1992-2004) before serving in the Illinois Senate (1997-2004) and as a U.S. senator from Illinois (2004-2008). His presidency was shaped by the global financial crisis, the healthcare reform debate, and wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. His June 2009 speech in Cairo to the Muslim world indicated a shift towards more cooperative U.S. foreign policy; later that year he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to strengthen international diplomacy. During his two presidential campaigns, Obama spoke frequently of his personal Christian faith and of the importance of ethical and religious values in creating a more just society.

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