Barack Obama is the 44th and current President of the United States. Born to a white American mother and a black Kenyan father, he is the first African American to hold the office. Prior to becoming the president, he served three terms representing the 13th District in the Illinois Senate and received national attention during his campaign to represent Illinois in the United States Senate. A graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, he was a successful civil rights attorney before he ventured into politics. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004.
In 2009 he signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in order to promote economic growth in the midst of the major global recession. Within months there was a surge in the number of jobs being created and unemployment claims began to subside. Over the period of one year, a total of nearly 3.7 million new private-sector jobs were created.
Obama doubled renewable power generation during his first term. In 2009, he issued orders to all federal agencies to cut down on their environmental impacts by 2020. A 30 percent reduction in fleet gasoline use, and 26 percent boost in water efficiency are some of the goals envisioned to achieve lower environmental impacts over the next few years.
As the president, his major focus was on revitalizing the American economy after the recession and he signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2010) in order to re-regulate the financial sector after its decline during the recession.
He authorized the operation, code-named Operation Neptune Spear, to go ahead with the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011. The operation resulted in the death of the infamous terrorist who had managed to evade capture so far.
He is also well known for his stance on same-sex marriages and LGBT rights. He called for full equality for gays during his second inaugural address on January 21, 2013—this was the first time that a president mentioned gay rights or the word gay in an inaugural address. He supports same sex couples adopting children.
He is the recipient of two Best Spoken Word Album Grammy Awards. He won the awards for the abridged audiobook versions of ‘Dreams from My Father’ (2006) and for ‘The Audacity of Hope’ (2008).
In 2009, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Barack Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”.
The ‘Time’ magazine named Obama as its Person of the Year twice, in 2008 and in 2012.