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Early life and careerObama was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii and will soon become the first president to be born in Hawaii. Obama's parents met in an Russian language class at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where his father was foreign student on scholarship. His mother was born in Wichita, Kansas and was of English and Irish descent. Obama Sr. divorced his wife in 1964, remarried, and moved back to Kenya, he only visited Obama once in 1971. He died in an automobile crash in 1982. After her divorce, Obama's mom married Indonesian student Lolo Soetoro, who was attending college in Hawaii. When an military leader came to power in Indonesia in 1967, all Indonesian students studying abroad were recalled. From ages six to ten, Obama attended local schools in Jakarta. In 1971, Obama moved back to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents and attended Punahou School from fifth grade until his graduation from high school in 1979. Obama's mom died of ovarian cancer in 1995.
Following high school, Obama moved to Los Angeles in 1979 to attend Occidental College. In February 1981, he made his first speech called for Occidental disinvestment from South Africa. In mid-1981, Obama traveled to Indonesia and to visit his sister Maya and him mom, and visited the families of college friends in Pakistan and India for three weeks.
In late 1988, he transferred to Columbia University in New York City, where he majored in political science with an specialty in international relations and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1983. He worked for a year at the Business International Company, then at the New York Public Interest Research Group.