The Barack Obama family is a picture of infectious unity, humility and happiness that has evolved from his and wife, Michelle's humble beginnings. Barack Obama wife, Michelle Robinson met him in June 1989 when the latter worked at the Chicago Law Firm, Sidley & Austin, as 'summer associate'.
As an Obama advisor for three months, wife Michelle often accompanied him for social functions. Following a brief courtship later that summer, Barack and Michelle were engaged in 1991, ending in their marriage on October 3, 1992. Malia Ann, their first daughter was born in 1998, while Natasha ("Sasha"), their second daughter was born in 2001.
Barack Obama wife Michelle also shares as illustrious a career as her husband's. Barack Obama wife, Michelle La Vaughn Robinson, was born in Chicago on January 17, 1964. Michelle demonstrated a high level of ambition and intelligence from a young age.
In 1981, she graduated from Whitney Young Magnet High School, and then enrolled in Princeton University where she graduated in 1985 with a major in sociology and minor in African American studies. In 1988, Obama wife Michelle graduated from the Harvard Law School, later joining Sidley and Austin - the Chicago Law firm where she and Barack Obama met.
In 1991, she worked as assistant to the mayor in the city government of Chicago. Later, she was designated assistant commissioner of planning and development. Michelle was appointed executive director for the non-profit organization, Chicago Office of Public Allies, in 1993. In 1996, she developed the University's community service center, during her tenure as associate dean of students at the University of Chicago.
Later, Michelle worked as executive director for community affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals in 2002. By 2005, she became vice president at the University of Chicago Medical Center, responsible for community and external affairs.
Barack Obama wife Michelle gained significant media exposure being one who played a major role during her husband's Presidential campaign. Her inspirational nature, intelligence and elegance, got her into the list of "25 most inspiring women in the world", by Essence magazine in 2006. Her exclusive sense of dressing style also earned her international recognition, following her inclusion in the list of "10 best-dressed people in the world", by Vanity Fair magazine in 2007. Barack Obama's Michelle is now a fully devoted mother to her two daughters (Malia and Sasha) and also an active partner in assisting her husband with his Presidential duties.
Barack Obama's parents were of mixed ethnic background. Barack Obama mother, Stanley Ann Dunham was an American of English descent from Wichita, Kansas, while Barack Obama father, Barack Obama Sr., was from Nyang'oma Kogelo, Nyanza Province of Kenya.
Barack Obama's parents met while attending a Russian language course at the University of Hawaii in Manoa in 1960. Following a brief courtship, Ann Dunham and Barack Obama Sr. married on February 2, 1961, and a year later, Barack was born. When he was just 2 years old, Barack Obama's parents separated and later divorced in 1964. Obama Sr. died in an automobile accident in 1982 after he returned to Kenya.
Following his parent's divorce, Barack Obama mother, Ann Dunham, later remarried Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian student attending college in Hawaii. She returned with him to the island nation in 1967. Barack Obama's mother returned to Hawaii in 1972, but relocated to Indonesia in 1977. Once more, Barack's mother returned to Hawaii in 1994 and died of ovarian cancer after living there for 1 year.
When Barack Obama celebrates America's racial and cultural diversity, he speaks from a lifetime of personal experience. In The Audacity of Hope, he wrote: "As the child of a black man and a white woman, someone who was born in the racial melting pot of Hawaii, with a sister who's half-Indonesian but who's usually mistaken for Mexican or Puerto Rican, and a brother-in-law and niece of Chinese descent, with some blood relatives who resemble Margaret Thatcher and others who could pass for Bernie Mac, so that family get-togethers over Christmas take on the appearance of a UN General Assembly meeting, I've never had the option of restricting my loyalties on the basis of race, or measuring my worth on the basis of tribe."
Obama's wife, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama, was born on January 17, 1964. Their first daughter, Malia Ann, was born on July 4, 1998, and their second daughter, Natasha, known as Sasha, was born on June 10, 2001. All three were born in Chicago and, until moving to Washington on January 5, 2009, two months after Barack Obama was elected President, they had spent almost their entire lives there. The Obamas chose to send their daughters to Sidwell Friends School, Sasha as a second-grader at the school's Bethesda, Maryland, elementary school campus and Malia as a fifth-grader at its middle school campus in Washington. The Obamas were accompanied to Washington by Michelle's mother, Marian Shields Robinson, whom they invited to live with them in the White House. Robinson is the only surviving parent of either Barack or Michelle Obama. Other close family members include Michelle Obama's brother, Craig Robinson, and Barack Obama's half-sister Maya Soetoro Ng. Ng was born in 1970 in Indonesia, the daughter of Obama's mother and her second husband, Lolo Soetoro.
Growing up, Barack Obama's family influenced his values in ways that later shaped his political philosophy. Empathy is at the heart of my moral code" he wrote in The Audacity of Hope, "a call to stand in somebody else's shoes and see through their eyes. Like most of my values, I learned about empathy from my mother." As a result, Obama is "angry about policies that consistently favor the wealthy and powerful over average Americans, and insist[s] that government has an important role in opening up opportunity to all."
Proud Democrat that he is, however, Obama is critical of his party's reflexive liberalism. "In reaction to a war that is ill-conceived," he wrote, "we appear suspicious of all military action. In reaction to those who claim the market can cure all ills, we resist efforts to use market principles to attack pressing problems. In reaction to religious overreach, we equate tolerance with secularism." Interestingly, in The Audacity of Hope, the figures he praised most, except for Franklin D. Roosevelt, were Republican icons: Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan, not Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, or Bill Clinton.