School’s out Friday

I just turned on my computer, opened Twhirl (my twitter desktop client) and saw a tweet from Breaking News announcing Barack Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009.

When he was elected into office I felt hopeful. He is such a marvellous orator. Someone who makes you stop and listen carefully to his words. It’s interesting discussing his influence with the students in my class. They too feel hopeful about world politics with Barack leading the United States. The Nobel committee said this about him;

“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future”

and this;

“His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.”

When the committee was asked why they awarded the prize only 8 months after Barack had taken office, the reply of committee head Thorbjoern Jagland was;

“It was because we would like to support what he is trying to achieve. It is a clear signal that we want to advocate the same as he has done”

‘The values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population’. Yes, we are more similar than we are different. People everywhere love their families and friends and want the best for them.  Here’s hoping this message sent by the Nobel committee will help diplomatic relations between countries and engender a new form of leadership.

Have a good weekend. Do something with friends and family.

Responsibility – Barack’s message for us all.

Barack Obama addressed the students of America yesterday as they returned for the start of their school year. His message was about responsibility. The responsibility students have to their own learning, to themselves.

Today in my Yr 9 English class we watched part of Obama’s speech and looked at some of the text. I asked my students if they thought it should have been required viewing in all American classrooms. Pretty much all of them thought yes. They were very surprised to hear that there were some American schools that did not allow the broadcast to be shown. Take a look at some of the comments posted on the YouTube video from students about that.

Our discussion then moved to why some schools would hold that position. They talked about political influence, party politics and propaganda. We also talked about the effectiveness of Brarack Obama’s delivery and the genuineness some felt was evident in his speech. It was all very appropriate for an English class, but more importantly it was vital for them as citizens of our world. Quite a bit of our discussion focused on the importance of being well informed about world events. Which of course, brought us back to Obama’s speech and his message about responsibility for your own learning.

If you haven’t seen the video, take the time to watch it. Personally, I thought the message was an important one. It was about resilience and making the most of opportunities presented to you. A message that crosses borders and is as valid in this country as it is in the United States.

Obama. A new day.

Happy January the 20th 2009
Image by m-c via Flickr

Up at 3.30 am to watch a moment in history. A great day for the world. President Barack Hussein Obama represents new hope for a challenged United States and the world.  His much anticipated Inauguration speech was impressive and delivered with consummate confidence. I particularly liked this passage;

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

 Let’s hope for the change this new era promises to usher in. Full text of Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address can be found at  

Change has come to the That happened very quickly; as soon as Barack Obama was announced President. Thanks to Malcolm Farnsworth for his timely updates on Twitter during the Inauguration speech.  It was very nice being able to share the moment with members of my Twitter network who were updating from the United States and various other parts of the world.