Page last updated at 15:02 GMT, Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Obama: Young people's views

On 20 January 2009 Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States.

Young people around the world have been answering four questions about Barack Obama for the BBC website and BBC World Class. The questions are:

• If Barack Obama visited your school, what would you do with him?

• What would you give Barack Obama?

• What's the first thing that Barack Obama should do when he becomes president?

• What do you think of Barack Obama?

Read some of their answers below:


I would take Barack Obama to our drone stricken tribal areas to show him the destruction caused by the US drone attacks on our poor helpless population so that he realizes the value of life and immediately orders an end to such attacks in our country. I would like to present him with a mirror so that he never forgets his true identity while sitting at the most powerful seat in the world.

Nabeel, 16, The Foundation School, Rawalpindi, Pakistan

I would like to invite Barack Obama to sit in on our lesson on "Human Rights". He might come to know about the human rights situation in our country. I would want him to change the attitude of students in our school towards human rights and child rights.

Ritesh, 13, Balodaya Secondary Boarding School, Pokhara, Nepal

The first things we think Obama should do are reduce the illiteracy rate in Bangladesh, create international opportunity for neglected children, promote girls education, support IT Education for all students and support our national effort towards basic education for all.

Marigold School, Saidpur, Bangladesh

I have been thinking that I would like to get a job related to cars in the future so I would ask Obama to work towards the economic recovery of the US automobile industry. That would have a positive influence on the automobile industry in Japan.

Ryota, Minamihara Junior High School, Japan

I would probably take him to the madrassas to see that majority of the children there are poor, homeless and pretty much a burden on their parents which is why they live there. Such madrassas do not only offer then religious education but provide then with food and shelter, which is without a doubt any child's unquestionable right.

Sidra, 15, Convent School, Islamabad, Pakistan

We are very happy to have Obama as US President. We hope he can solve the problems of minorities around the world. We would like invite him to Malaysia. He would be a role model to the children in our school. We draw Obama like a Zebra because he is in everyone's heart, beyond skin colour.

Srimathy, SRJK Ladang Mount Austin, Johor, Malaysia

I would take Obama to the outskirts, to the slum settlements in deserted grounds, to the hills and mountains around Islamabad. I would show him the dozen or more Afghanis crouched around a tiny fire under the open sky, too cold to even breathe. I would show him little Afghani children begging at every roadside and climbing on trees to eat raw fruit. I would show him the endless stream of bone thin Afghani men sitting on sidewalks with their spades - waiting for work. I would him the desperation in their eyes. I would show him what America has done to Afghanis.

Shehr, 16, Convent School, Islamabad, Pakistan


My school is special because it is clear of all traces of discrimination. I would take Barack Obama to meet my father. My father is one of the unsung heroes who dedicated their lives to their struggle against apartheid. He lost his first wife in the struggle and almost lost his life too. He is a very strong man from whom I have learnt many important life lessons. To remember me I would give him a hand carved caterpillar. Like the caterpillar, South Africa is in a metamorphic process.

Anele, 17, Earlington Secondary School, Durban, South Africa

I would ask Obama to improve our library because they say that knowledge is power. If he could enrich the library with good books, I would be very happy. I see Obama as a perfect man - a man that has defied race to become an outstanding individual. He is the epitome of leadership.

Dolapo, 11, Wisdom Brook College, Lagos, Nigeria

I feel that the African leaders should learn a lot from this young black American and let us exercise democracy worldwide, especially in Africa. I have always followed Obama's campaigns and I believe that he meant all he promised. I believe that the election of Obama has created a very good image for Kenya in the face of the world. There will be a very big change worldwide, change in America means change for the whole world.

Peter, 17, Bonde School, Kenya

I would take him to a very special place, the orphanage home in Lagos. The folks down there need more than money and food. I believe they need words of encouragement from a man that was raised by his grandparents and not his immediate father and later became a success.

Adeshina, 13, Wisdom Brook College, Lagos, Nigeria

I think Obama will be a good leader. I enjoyed his campaign speeches. As Kenyans we learn that tribalism and ethnicity should not divide us during national elections because racism was not considered by the Americans when they elected Obama. Obama will hopefully invest more in the education of young people worldwide to achieve the change he speaks of.

Maureen, 17, Bonde School, Kenya


If Obama came to visit, I would take him to an old people's home, simply to show him that we have a well functioning welfare system here in Norway. I would use this to explain how relatively high taxes can have a positive effect on society.

Alexander, 18, Jessheim High School, Oslo, Norway

If Barack Obama visited Poland, I would give him a poster about peace and equality designed by me. Obama has a chance to help poor people. His voters believe in him and his just rule. I think that they will be convinced of their good choice in a few years' time.

Daria, 10, John Paul II Primary School, Chorzow, Poland

I'd invite Obama to our philosophy class. In that class we learn the values that could change our life and make others' lives better. "Change" was the most important word of Obama's electoral campaign. This world needs a change.

Ignacio, 16, Colegio Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas, Madrid, Spain

We would give Obama the proverb: if you don't know your history, you don't have a future. We think that Barack Obama has a great attitude and he is the man that would make great change in the world of politics.

Ikbal and Kubra, 19 and 16, Arentheem College, Arnhem, Netherlands


I think Barack Obama is a role model for young, mixed race children like me. Obama winning the election has made me think that anything is possible. If he visited our school, I think I would tell him that Rushey Mead is a multicultural school where people are given equal opportunities.

Hulme, 14, Rushey Mead School, Leicester, UK

We would ask Obama to ask Mr Robson to cut down our homework! We think he will inspire a whole new generation of children because things can change and the impossible can be made possible.

Class 8E4, 12-13, Haydon School, Harrow, UK

We think Barack Obama is a very talented man. He deserves to be president of America. Martin Luther King has got one of his "Dreams".

Monica, Jessica and Vikita, 13, Rushey Mead School, Leicester, UK

I would take Mr Obama to the streets of Tottenham to show him that we need more people like him. I would take him to meet my brother because he thinks that one day he could be the same as Barack Obama, successful and proud of who he is.

Karen, 11, Park View Academy, Tottenham, UK

I would take Obama to Cardiff Castle so he can find out about the history of Cardiff. The other place I would take him is Millennium Stadium where our Welsh rugby team plays.

Widad, 14, Fitzalan High School, Cardiff, UK

If Obama visited us, I would take him to my community and show him the Job Centre to show him how many people are unemployed and that this needs to change.

Rahim, 15, Brampton Manor School, East Ham, UK

I think with the power he has, Barack Obama can put an end to the terrible war in Gaza and help other countries. I think Barack Obama becoming President of the USA is amazing considering only 40 years ago black citizens in America were not even allowed to go on the same bus as white people.

Celina, 11, Upton Hall school, Wirral, UK


Obama will bring in a new era, not just for the USA, but for the world. I never saw one man catch the attention of the whole world like Obama. He should pay more attention to countries like Brazil as they have the potential to help the USA. To me, Obama is the new generation: revolution and CHANGE. I'm sure that YES, WE CAN!

Raimnudo, Colégio Adventista de Vila Yara, Osasco, Brazil

The first thing Barack Obama should do when he becomes President is to give more to the homeless, helpless, lonely people. They don't get much of anything and they are human beings just like everyone else. They deserve a little bit of respect.

Marie, Holland Middle School, Feasterville-Trevose, Pennsylvania, USA

To remember me, I would give Obama a personally recorded reading of the book Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. This book, besides being an all time favourite of mine, teaches a great lesson of not giving up even when you think it's over. It is a great story of determination that reflects and represents our school and community nicely. I would record it because, as the President Elect, he is definitely very busy and may not have time to read it himself.

Justin, 17, Manheim Central High School, Manheim, Pennsylvania, USA

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