Barack Obama First days
Barack Obama takes the oath of office administered by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. at the Capitol, January 20, 2009
The inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President took place on January 20, 2009. In his first few days in office, Obama issued executive orders and presidential memoranda directing the U.S. military to develop plans to withdraw troops from Iraq. He ordered the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, but Congress prevented the closure by refusing to appropriate the required funds and preventing moving any Guantanamo detainee into the U.S. or to other countries. Obama reduced the secrecy given to presidential records. He also revoked President George W. Bush's restoration of President Ronald Reagan's Mexico City Policy prohibiting federal aid to international family planning organizations that perform or provide counseling about abortion. He is the 44thand current President of the United States, the first African American to hold the office.
Presidential campaigns On February 10, 2007, Obama announced his candidacy for President of the United States in front of the Old State Capito lbuilding in Springfield, Illinois. The choice of the announcement site was viewed as symbolic because it was also where Abraham Lincoln delivered his historic "House Divided" speech in 1858.
Nelson Mandela: His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism. A Xhosa born to the Themburoyal family, Mandela attendedFort Hare University and theUniversity of Witwatersrand, where he studied law. Living inJohannesburg, he became involved in anti-colonial politics, joining the ANC and becoming a founding member of its Youth League. After the Afrikaner nationalists of the National Party came to power in 1948 and began implementing the policy of apartheid, he rose to prominence in the ANC's 1952Defiance Campaign, was elected President of the Transvaal ANC Branch and oversaw the 1955 Congress of the People. Working as a lawyer, he was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities and, with the ANC leadership, was prosecuted in the Treason Trial from 1956 to 1961 but was found not guilty.
Continued activism: 1999â€“2004
Mandela visiting the London School of Economics in 2000
Retiring in June 1999, Mandela sought a quiet family life, to
be divided between Johannesburg and Qunu. He set about authoring a sequel to his first autobiography, to be titled The Presidential Years, but it was abandoned before publication. Finding such seclusion difficult, he reverted to a busy public life with a daily programme of tasks, meeting with world leaders and celebrities, and when in Johannesburg worked with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, founded in 1999 to focus on combating HIV/AIDS, rural development and school construction. Although he had been heavily criticised for failing to do enough to fight the pandemic during his presidency, he devoted much of his time to the issue following his retirement, describing it as "a war" that had killed more than "all previous wars", and urged Mbeki's government to ensure that HIV+ South Africans had access to retrovirals. In 2000, the Nelson Mandela Invitational charity golf tournament was founded, hosted by Gary Player. Mandela was successfully treated for prostate cancer in July 2001.