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President Barack Obama stands and waves out to a crowd alongside First Lady Michelle Obama as she claps toward the same crowd.
“Change only happens when ordinary people get involved and they get engaged, and they come together to demand it.”
- President Obama, 2017

Throughout their lives and careers, President and Mrs. Obama have always believed in the power of everyday people working together to create change. That belief is the cornerstone of the Obama Foundation’s mission. 

The Obamas set out to pass the baton to the next generation of leaders through the Obama Foundation and inspire our values-based leadership programs.

President Barack Hussein Obama is a Black man with a medium warm skin tone, and stands 6 feet 2 inches. He has a slender face, full eyebrows, and oval-shaped eyes. In this photo, he has short black and gray crew cut hair and wears a dark suit, a blue-patterned tie, and an American flag pin on his left lapel. His left hand rests on the side of his face.

Photo by Pari Dukovic

Meet President Barack Obama

Barack Obama was the 44th president of the United States, elected in November 2008 and holding office for two terms. 

He was born in Hawaiʻi on August 4, 1961, to a mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya, and raised with the help of his grandparents. 

Soon after graduating from Columbia University in New York City, Obama moved to the South Side of Chicago, where he became a community organizer, coordinating with churches to improve housing conditions and set up job-training programs in a community hit hard by steel mill closures. 

After nearly three years, he attended Harvard Law School, where he attracted national attention as the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review. Returning to Chicago, he became a civil rights attorney and married Michelle Robinson in 1992. Obama was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996, and then to the United States Senate in 2004. 

When he was elected president in 2008, he became the first African American to hold the office, and was inaugurated during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. In office, he oversaw eight years of progress, taking action to rescue the American economy, grow the middle class, pass the Affordable Care Act, wind down two wars, and refocus American diplomatic leadership around the world. He left office having overseen the longest job stretch of American job creation ever and led the creation of the Paris Agreement, the most ambitious global climate agreement in history.  In 2009, Obama became the fourth president to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

In his post-presidency, President Obama has dedicated his efforts to supporting the next generation of leaders. The Obama Foundation is bringing that vision to life through programs for emerging leaders across continents, and the Foundation’s mission to inspire, empower, and connect people to change their world. That legacy will carry on through the Obama Presidential Center, currently under construction on Chicago’s South Side.

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is a Black woman with a medium deep skin tone. She stands 5 feet 11 inches and has brown almond-shaped eyes and an oval-shaped face. In this photo, she has black shoulder-length curly hair and is wearing a black turtleneck.

Photo by Miller Mobley

Meet former First Lady Michelle Obama

Michelle Robinson Obama served as First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017.

Michelle’s journey began on the South Side of Chicago, where Fraser and Marian Robinson instilled in their daughter a heartfelt commitment to family, hard work, and education.

A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Michelle returned to Chicago to join the firm of Sidley & Austin, where she met her future husband Barack Obama. She later worked in the Chicago mayor’s office, at the University of Chicago, and at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Mrs. Obama also founded the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program that prepares young people for public service.

As First Lady, Mrs. Obama led initiatives that included Let’s Move!, a program aiming to end childhood obesity, and Reach Higher, which helped students access and train for new job opportunities. 

She championed the education of girls and women around the world, and that work continues today at the Obama Foundation through the Girls Opportunity Alliance. The Alliance supports global grassroots organizations that are working to make sure girls can get the education they deserve.

The Obamas currently live in Washington, DC, and have two daughters, Malia and Sasha. You can connect with them online by visiting the Office of Barack and Michelle Obama at  https://barackobama.com/ Opens in a new tab .

Browse the story of President Obama’s administration and the Obama family’s time in the White House

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