The Making of a Global President
by Dinesh Sharma, PhD
“Compelling and original…Offers a unique psychological and sociological lens on the ascendancy of a young African-American boy to become the leader of the most powerful country in the world.” —Dr. Judy Kuriansky, Clinical Psychologist, Columbia University, and Author
“Sharma’s volume trumps all others….The analytic lines of the book run deep and the narratives moves into a level of artistic brilliance.”
How did a young, rookie Illinois senator, with a name derived from Swahili and Arabic, an African-American identity, and a biracial heritage, achieve the ultimate American dream: growing up to be President? To millions of Americans, including many who voted for him, the landmark election of Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th President of United States remains a revelation. Much has been written about Obama’s mastery of the Internet, his victory for racial equality, and his charisma. Yet, the exceptional qualities that distinguish Barack Obama as a leader for our changing times—his multicultural roots and his international sensibilities—
“Barack Obama is born of a multicultural America at the cusp of the age of globalization,”
Informed by newly gathered insights from people who knew Barack when he was known as Barry (including his half-Indonesian sister Maya Soetoro-Ng and his teachers in Jakarta, where he attended both Islamic Public and Catholic schools, as well as at the Punahou School in Honolulu), Barack Obama in Hawai’i and Indonesia offers a chronological and psychosocial journey of Obama’s development as a globally-minded individual and political leader. Chapters shed light on:
• The legacy of his parents’ short-lived marriage, with new insights into how his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, a white anthropologist and humanitarian from Kansas, idealized the native Kenyan father, Barack Obama, Senior, who abandoned him. Ann instilled young Barry with a sense of moral privilege as a black man and the steely determination to achieve greatness, including the impetus to be the first Black President.
• The women who shaped Obama: his mother, Ann; his grandmother, Madelyn; and his wife, Michelle. His mother’s multicultural consciousness and progressive idealism, his grandmother’
• The impact of his early global education, until age ten, in Jakarta, where Obama lived on the “Islamic street” with colorful characters in his house, including a gay cook, and came to see how different religions, particularly Islam and Christianity, could live side by side. Facing abysmal poverty, he came to recognize the positive force of industrialized, developed economies on the lives of people in the developing world.
• The truth behind allegations that Obama is a Muslim. While living in the largest Islamic democracy, Indonesia, Obama did not convert to Islam or go through any rite of passage or ritual circumcision;
• The circumstances surrounding the death of his long-lost father and the ensuing autobiography, “Dreams from My Father”. Sharma delves into Obama’s haunting dreams, where his father is in a jail and Obama is trying to get him out. These dreams reverberate throughout his life story and political identity and make him, along with many other fatherless presidents from George Washington to Bill Clinton who raised themselves by their bootstraps, an American archetype.
In the final chapters, Barack Obama in Hawai’i and Indonesia delves into Obama’s transition to the mainland, the affirmation of his African-American identity in New York and Chicago, and his calling as a global leader. As Sharma makes clear, Obama’s multicultural childhood and adolescence strongly influenced the formation of his character and values, his approach to global issues as President, and his vision for America.
About the Author
DINESH SHARMA, PhD, is a cultural psychologist and marketing consultant with a doctorate from Harvard University. He is a senior fellow at the Institute for International and Cross-Cultural Research at St. Francis College, New York. The author/editor of three previous books, he is a regular contributor to Asia Times Online, writing on globalization, politics, terrorism, AfPak region, and India-US relations. His articles have appeared in a range of other newspapers and journals, including the Wall Street Journal Online, Far Eastern Economic Review, Middle East Times, Health Affairs, Biotech Law Review, Genomics, Society and Policy, and International Psychology Bulletin. He lives in the Princeton, New Jersey area with his wife and two children.
Title: BARACK OBAMA IN HAWAI’I AND INDONESIA: The Making of a Global President
Author: Dinesh Sharma
Release date: September 30, 2011
*Also available as an eBook.