Sidney, aged 13

“Yes we can. (…) This is our time to put people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace…” are a few of the words that the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama, spoke on the 5th of November 2008 at nearly 6AM when he was elected (“Barack Obama’s US Elction…”).

With a mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya, Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on the 4th of August 1961 (Barack H. Obama- Biographical…”). He was brought up in a middle-class society along with a sense and value of a strong family encouraging hard work, proper education and service to others (Barack H. Obama-Biographical…”). On November 5th of 2008, he was elected first ever afro-American President of the United States. Shortly after, in 2009, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples” (“Video Player”).

The World’s reaction to his win was not as commendable as it could have been. Most people didn’t accept why he received the prize because it is usually awarded to those that have accomplished peace (Rothman). In this case, as Obama said himself, it was given to him for motivation and momentum to later accomplish peace (“Video Player”). Though some beg to differ, President Barack Obama embodies peace in a few different ways: anti-war movement, helping countries through treaties and “action through speech.”

One of Barack Obama’s main goal is to try and stop the American’s commitment to war that was brought about after the 9/11 incident and the George W. Bush administration in Afghanistan and Iraq (Wehner). Obama campaigned on getting troops completely out of both countries and stop the wars (“Obama Afghanistan…”). Peter Wehner’s article goes on to say that Iraq is “the most important foreign-policy decision in a generation”. On May 2nd 2011, Obama had great pride in announcing that the leader of Al-Qaida, Osama Bin Laden, was killed by US Forces (“US Forces…”). “Justice has been done” was what Obama said and “Justice has been served” is what almost all of the rest of the world said (“US Forces…”). President Obama, by bringing the troops home and out of the countries in war with the United States, is keeping his promise to the nation to serve in peace.

Obama has helped or at least tried to make peace with or for other countries. There are many that could be mentioned but two that are both recent and important. Obama’s main fields are world organizing, arms control and disarmament (“Barack H. Obama-Biographical…). In the year 2010, he signed a nuclear treaty with Russia (“Barack Obama Signs…). In this treaty, Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama cut American and Russian crucial nuclear warheads by about a third (“Barack Obama Signs…”). In addition, the article: “Barack Obama Signs Nuclear Treaty with Russia” states that the US and Russia also cut their total land, sea and air-based launchers. The other important treaty mentioned before, is the one where Obama tried to resolve the border conflicts between the Israelis and the Palestinians (Spetalnick). As stated in Matt Spetalnick’s article, in this treaty, “Obama went further then he has ever gone in offering principles for resolving the stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians.” It also asserts that “among the parameters he laid down was that any agreement creating a state of Palestine must be based on borders that existed before Israel captured the West Bank in the 1960’s.” Although Obama criticized the continued Israeli settlement activity, he still advocated a steady US commitment to Israel’s security (Spetalnick). Many of the other criterions he brought forward also rely on the issues of border conflict (Spetalnick). This was one of his latest efforts to try and resolve controversy of peace.

Barack Obama has given commendable and thought provoking speeches since the day he started running in the 2008 presidential race. Five months after the November election, when Obama was in Philadelphia, PA, he gave a speech partly about his decisions and about the people of the United States. “I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for our children and our grandchildren. ” This small part of this speech, has touched me, inspired me and proved to me that he is working towards unity and peace.

Later, in August of 2008, hence ten months after the presidential election, Obama took a trip to Kenya where in one of his speeches on AIDS, he addressed the Kenyans in a heartfelt, sincere and genuine manner: “I will do my part to shape an intelligent foreign policy that promotes peace and prosperity. A foreign policy that gives hope and opportunity to the people of this great continent.” These exact words were able to inspire many people and mostly give hope to part of himself and the people of Africa. There are numerous other quotes I had selected but using only these few pure, simple words, we can already recognize how he has the power to inspire and give hope by doing something I call: “action through speech.”

In conclusion, we recognize that Obama has a strong sense of community and peace making and/or giving. Proof of that? If you search “peace” as a keyword on Obama’s official White House Website, there are 2041 results in total, whether they be regarding the Middle East, Norway, the UN and more. Also, even though war is sometimes necessary I believe President Obama has the understanding of when it is or isn’t. “Still, we are at war, and I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill. Some will be killed. And so I come here with an acute sense of the cost of armed conflict – filled with difficult questions about the relationship between war and peace, and our effort to replace one with the other”, are some of the words President Barack Obama spoke in acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize (“Full Text…”). Furthermore, Obama tries to take care of peace making throughout the world in preference of only in the nation he leads and has given and will continue to give affective and inspirational speeches. President Barack Obama represents peace, leadership and American honor.

About UN News Geneva

Sharing entires to the United Nations Peace Essay competitions run by the Information Service in Geneva in 2011
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