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U.S. President Barack Obama's historic life journey took another
extraordinary step Friday when he was named the winner of the 2009
Nobel Peace Prize.
The prize comes just 11 months after then
U.S. senator Obama became the first African-American to be elected
president of the United States.
He attracted millions of supporters to his campaign with his themes of hope and bringing change to Washington.
Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961, the son of a black Kenyan man and a
white American woman from Kansas. He spent some of his early years in
Indonesia, then later, after graduating from college, began his public
career as a community organizer in Chicago, went to Harvard Law School
and later became a U.S. senator from the state of Illinois.
He made history as the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review.
other sitting U.S. presidents - Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson
- have won the peace prize. Former President Jimmy Carter won in
2002, two decades after leaving office.
Roosevelt won in 1906 for his work in mediating an end to the
Russo-Japanese War. President Wilson won the award in 1919 for his
efforts in creating the League of Nations, the forerunner of the United
Former President Carter was honored with the prize for
his work in mediating conflicts and promoting democracy on the
In 2007, former Vice President Al Gore
shared the prize with the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change for his work on climate change.
Mr. Obama is also the
third African-American to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Ralph Bunche, a
high-ranking U.N. official, won the 1950 prize for mediating a peace
accord between Israel and the Arab states. The Reverend Martin Luther
King, Jr. won in 1964 for his work in the U.S. civil rights movement.