Skip to content

President Obama

A headshot of President Obama looking directly at the camera, with his hand raised to the side of his head and one finger touching his temple. He has a serious expression on his face. He wears a suite and tie.

44th president of the United States

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.

Meet our 2023 Democracy Forum Speakers

You can donate to help us inspire, empower, and connect leaders from around the world to take on the biggest challenges of our time.

Donate to the Barack Obama Foundation. The Barack Obama Foundation is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (EIN 46-4950751).