On April 9, 2015, Jamaica hosted an encounter between President of the United States, Barack Obama, and the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for discussions on issues on the CARICOM-USA agenda, including security and trade.
President Obama and the CARICOM Heads of Government proceeded from the high-level encounter in Jamaica to Panama City for the Seventh Summit of the Americas from 10th to 11th April 2015.
Barack Hussein Obama was born on August 4th, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii and named after his father, Barack Obama Sr., a Kenyan intellectual who met his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, while studying at the University of Hawaii. His parents got married in 1961 and divorced three years later. His father returned to Kenya soon after. At age six Obama’s mother married an Indonesian man and the family moved to Jakarta. Then known as “Barry”, he later moved back to Hawaii, where he was raised mainly by his grandparents.
Obama worked his way through school—Occidental College in Los Angeles, Columbia University in New York, and later, Harvard Law School—with the help of scholarship money and student loans.
After graduating from Columbia University in New York, he worked for three years as a community organiser in poor neighbourhoods in Chicago.
During this time, Obama visited relatives in Kenya, which included a visit to the graves of his biological father and paternal grandfather. Obama returned from Kenya with a sense of renewal, entering Harvard Law School in 1988.
At Harvard he became the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review. After Harvard, Obama returned to Chicago to practise civil rights law, representing victims of housing and employment discrimination. While there, he met Michelle Robinson an associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin. She was assigned to be Obama’s adviser during a summer internship at the firm, and not long after, the couple began dating. The couple married in 1992 and have two daughters, Malia and Sasha.
Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996 and to the U.S. Senate in 2004.
In the November 2004 general election, Obama received 70 percent of the vote compared to his opponent Alan Keyes’ who secured 27 percent. This was the largest electoral victory in Illinois history.
In February 2007, Obama made headlines when he announced his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama defeated Republican presidential nominee John McCain, 52.9 percent to 45.7 percent, winning election as the 44th president of the United States—and the first African-American to hold this office. His running mate, Delaware Senator Joe Biden, became vice president.
On January 20th, 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as President of the United States in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. In his first term as President, he cut taxes for every American worker—putting US $3,600 back into the pockets of the typical family.
He was re-elected for a second term on November 6, 2012.
Barack Obama is the first sitting president to stand up for marriage equality, and is fighting for equal pay and a woman’s right to make her own health decisions. He’s also made a college education more affordable for millions of students and their families.
The President believes an economy that’s built to last starts by growing and strengthening the middle class and he continues to enact policy changes in response to the issues of health care, immigration and economic crisis.
- 2013 NME Award for Hero of the Year
- 2012 Time’s Person of the Year
- 2009 Nobel Peace Prize
- 2008 Time’s Person of the Year
- 2008, Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album – The Audacity of Hope
- 2007 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Nonfiction – The Audacity of Hope
- 2006 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album – Dreams from My Father
- 2005 NAACP Image Award – Chairman’s Award