Barack Obama's father was brought up in Kenya, one of the many African countries which had been part of the British Empire, but Barack Obama never lived there but has visited. He was photographed wearing the traditional local garments when he visited Wajir, close to the Somalia border, during the summer of 2006.

Obama in Africa

He may have some family history and feeling for the role that the British Empire and then the British Commonwealth have played in the development of post-war international relations. He lived with his mother and step-father in Indonesia for a period in his childhood. Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim country and at one time a colony of the Netherlands via The Dutch East Indies Company. The potential future President of the United States of America will have developed a better feeling for the diaspora nature of the world: different from most of his predecessors, but these experiences may not chime with the voters in the US, around only 20% of whom have a passport. US Passports

Barack Obama does not appear to have spent much time in the United Kingdom but has already stated that he wants to re-calibrate the special relationship. Guardian 27 May 2008

There is a continuing family connection in the United Kingdom. Barack Obama Senior has three wives and three sets of children. It appears that he had left one wife with a son and also 3 months pregnant, Keiza, in Kenya when he won a scholarship to University in Hawaii. Here he met and married Ann Dunham [d.1995] who was Barack Obama Jnr's mother. When Barack Obama Snr won a scholarship to Harvard, he left his wife Ann and Junior eventually divorcing, if they were ever married and Senior married teacher Ruth Nidesand who returned to Kenya with him. Meantime, Keiza had two more sons, Barack Obama's half-brothers. His half-sister Auma and Keiza moved to England and Barack Obama Jnr has visited Bracknell, an IT town to the west of London, at least once - for the 1998 wedding of Auma. According to the London Daily Mail he attended the Stag night of his half-brother-in-law, Ian. Daily Mail 6 Jan 2008

Since the death of his father, in a 1982 road accident in Kenya and his mother from cancer in 1995, his step-mother, Keiza, has an important family role: attending his Senate inauguration in 2005.

In the United Kingdom we hope that if the Democrats replace the Republicans for the Presidency, that there will be a more global view on Foreign Policy and more understanding of complex family histories. Obama's first speech as Democrat Presidential nominee on 4 June 2008 in which the parallel of Jews and Palestinians wanting their own homeland and how other peoples, including African Americans, need to have a stable place they can strive for and dream about, could be part of a better future for the world.