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.
Mr. 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.
Two 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.
President 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 Nations.
Former President Carter was honored with the prize for his work in mediating conflicts and promoting democracy on the international stage.
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.