Auma Obama

by Aimee Laubach ’11

On March 18th, we were fortunate enough to have attended a talk given by President Obama’s sister, Auma Obama. It was held at Jacobs University, a private, international, but English-speaking university located 20 minutes (by train) outside the city of Bremen. There were fewer than 30 people in attendance, making it a more intimate experience.

Auma Obama and Prof. Dr. Joachim Treusch, President of Jacobs University

Auma Obama first gave her biographical background. She was born and raised in Kenya, but then came to Germany to study at the University of Heidelberg and proceeded to get her PhD at the University of Bayreuth. Auma Obama spent most of her time talking about her efforts as a development worker in Kenya in addition to her views on the value of education. She works as a Sport for Social Change Network Coordinator in Nairobi. Sport for Social Change Initiative is an organization whose goal is to use the convening power of sports as a way to minimize the effects of poverty on marginalized youth and young adult populations. Obama expressed that, in her opinion, education can help young people identify their potentials and give back to the community. According to Auma Obama, students must use their education as a means for finding themselves and what it is that they are meant to do in life, while still taking responsibility for society.

I was sort of surprised that she did not once mention her brother, Barack Obama, but was delighted to hear her speak about her own life and her own work. In my opinion, it meant that she did not have to use her brother’s fame and importance to feel accomplished and successful. And her insight about education made me reevaluate and think about the importance of my education.

Auma Obama in discussion with students from both universities

Leave a Reply