Obamas pick March for Indonesia trip
Updated 1:33 p.m.
By Michael D. Shear
President Obama in March will make his first visit as president to Indonesia, the country where he spent several years as a youth, during a trip that will also include stops in Guam and Australia, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced today.
Obama lived in Indonesia from the age of 6 to the age of 10, and has described his time in the country as formative, especially in shaping his views on hardship and race and the poverty and challenges that can be found in developing countries around the world.
The president's mother moved him to the country from Hawaii after marrying Obama's Indonesian stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, the father of Obama's half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng. In his book, Dreams from My Father, Obama writes of the lessons he learned from Soetoro while in Indonesia.
"Not just how to change a flat tire or open in chess," Obama wrote, "He knew more elusive things, ways of managing the emotions I felt, ways to explain fate's constant mysteries."
Those mysteries of fate would eventually lead Obama back to the United States and to the Oval Office. Now, after more than a year in office, Obama will return to the country which seemed raw to him as a child.
Obama's childhood connection to the country has made him popular there. But a controversy has recently erupted over a statue of him as a boy which was erected in Jakarta's Menteng Park. Opponents say an Indonesian should be honored instead.
In addition to Indonesia, Obama plans to visit Guam and Australia, Gibbs said. Australia has been one of America's staunchest allies in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Web Politics Editor
February 1, 2010; 1:09 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency
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