Video: Global messages for Obama
People across the world give their message to Barack Obama, the new US president.
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2009 00:53 GMT

Obama's election was watched with interest across the world [GALLO/GETTY]

As part of Al Jazeera's coverage of Barack Obama's inauguration as president of the United States, we asked people from across the world what their message would be to the new president, and what they think his first priority in the White House.

Here are some of the people we spoke to, from the Kenya to Malaysia, and their thoughts on the historic occasion.

Kisumu, Kenya

In video

For Kenyans the US presidential election was of particular interest - as Obama's father was from the country.

Obama still has family in Kenya, and many Kenyans remain proud of their connection, hoping that he will remember "where he came from" when it comes to foreign policy.

Given the new US presidents roots in the country, many Kenyans hope that the spotlight shone on their nation by Obama's victory in the election will lead to further investment in their country and in turn be of benefit to its citizens.


In video

Israel has watched the US election intently for months, given the close relationship between the two countries and the recent war on Gaza.

For many in Israel, both Israeli and Palestinian, views are mixed on whether Obama can achieve anything with regards to the Middle East conflict. 

Some remain pessimistic that Obama will be able to make any lasting peace process.

However, others hope he will have a more "careful" foreign policy than his Republican predecessor, George Bush.

Mexico City, Mexico

In video

For those living Mexico, the US's southern neighbour, issues of immigration remain paramount on many minds, as the global economy continues to slide and many south of the US border are concerned about relatives working in the country.

However many others express hope that Obama will bring about an end to the conflict in Iraq, with few expressing any regrets about Bush leaving office.

Trade also remains a key issue, with Mexicans expressing hope of more fair trade policies towards their nation. 

Rafah border, Egypt/Gaza

In video

For those on the Rafah border between Israel and Gaza, there are feelings of relief that George Bush, the US president, is no longer in office.

There are also hopes that Obama will put pressure on Israel to finally bring about a Palestinian state.

Others express hope that his time in office will bring more global stability.

Obama's term in office comes at a time when the Middle East conflict has once again been centre stage in global politics.  

Johannesburg, South Africa

In video

In South Africa, hopes are high that Obama can help bring peace in the Middle East and stabilise the ailing global economy.

Some remain wary of the many issues he inherits and the limits of his four year term.

Others point to the historical nature of his presidency, as the first African-American to reach the highest office in the world's only superpower.

They say this is a positive sign of how racial politics are changing globally. 

Ramallah, Palestinian territories

In video

Many Palestinians remain doubtful that Obama can bring about true change in the Middle East.

They point to all US presidents' traditional support for Israel, particularly during the recent Israeli offensive in Gaza.

Some say the remain "realistic", as opposed to "optimistic" about what Obama can really achieve.

And all are clear that they want the new US president to support the Palestinians in their cause.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

In video

In Malaysia people expressed optimism that Obama's presidency would usher in a new era of diplomacy in international relations.

Many feel Obama has more conciliatory approach towards foreign policy.

They also hope he will work well with other nations. 

However some wonder whether Obama has promised more than he can deliver in what will prove a challenging four years in office.

Beijing, China

In video

In China there are hopes Obama will improve at times fraught relations between their nation and the US.

Many also hope for much needed boosts for the global economy, which has been buffeted in recent months by slumping stock markets.

And there are hopes for peace in Iraq and the closure of Guantanamo Bay.

The prison camp remains for many an enduring legacy of the Bush era and has caused many around the world to question the US in recent years.

Manila, The Philippines

In video

In the Philippines, it seems the environment appeared to be a key priority to many on the streets of Manila.

However some in the Philippines, whose leaders supported Bush in the so-called war on terror, pointed to their own struggles with "terrorism" and asked Obama to continue the fight.

But many in the Philippines remain concerned about the high levels of unemployment in their country.

They hope that the new US president can help to assuage the economic concerns affecting not just them but the world. 

Buenos Aires, Argentina

In video

In Argentina the economy was a key concern of many people, with locals in Buenos Aires expressing concern that everyday people had suffered while so-called financial bailouts assisted only major corporations.

Many felt that the US financial market needed to be re-regulated after recent financial scandals have caused many global investors to lose confidence.

And there was also a sense that Obama should work to rebuild the US's image, which many saw as having suffered in recent years. 

Al Jazeera
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