WSU Today and the Office of International Programs queried WSU faculty and staff at work around the world to ask, “What are people saying in your host country or community about the inauguration of President Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States?” Here are a few of their postcards home.
Postcard #1 – Malawi
“The positive response to Barack Obama overseas is massive.  Many people and countries in Africa view Barack as a World President – as important to them as he is to the American people. His election is widely viewed as a truly historic occasion not just for America but for the world – a change that is helping to pave the path for eliminating conflict around the world and racial divides. Everyone is excited and everyone is watching the inauguration with an intensity unmatched by any in history.”

– Trent Bunderson (natural resource sciences)
Associate Director, East and Southern Africa, International Programs Research and Development

Postcard #2 – Ethiopia and other locations
“The question on the mind of every participant in an October training session in Ethiopia was, ‘Can Barack Obama become President of the United States?’  Many did not believe this was possible. They were hopeful, for the United States’ image overseas and for their own political and economic well-being, that Obama would be elected. Following the election, several of the trainees sent congratulatory notes on the election of President-elect Obama and the momentous occasion for the United States and the world as a whole. These congratulatory notes from Ethiopia were echoed from the Philippines and Morocco where colleagues and friends made their hopes and expectations for America known following the election.”

– Tom Byers (agricultural economics)
 Associate Director, North Africa and Asia, International Programs Research and Development

Postcard #3 – Kazakhstan

“Here in Kazakhstan they are celebrating with Americans.  I have heard Kazakhs say they are hopeful for a U.S. president who talks to other world leaders before making decisions that have a large impact around the world.  There is a sincere admiration for Barak Obama because of his diverse background.  They know his father is African, he was born in Hawaii, that he lived in Asia and that he was raised by his grandmother. Because of this they say he can understand most people around the world. I get the feeling that Kazakhs are more impressed with his youth than being an African American.  Their hope is that the people of Kazakhstan and other countries will do the same and elect young intelligent leaders who inspire change.”
– Chris Pannkuk (crops and soil sciences)
Director, International Programs Research and Development
Postcard #4 – India
It’s only a few days to the Obama inauguration and there is a lot of excitement and curiosity here about this momentous event. There is great pride here about the accomplishments of the South Asian immigrant community in the U.S., but the fact that an immigrant son can make it to the presidency further burnishes the reputation of the U.S. as the promised land. Although a distant figure, President Bush was not as unpopular here as in some other countries because U.S.-India relations have been in an upswing in the last eight years, culminating recently in a nuclear power trade deal; thus the expectations from the Obama administration are even higher. Among my research collaborators, Obama’s personal interest in the smart electric grid brings great hope that the U.S. is again willing to take on world leadership in the electricity infrastructure technologies resulting in faster progress towards slowing climate change and fossil fuel consumption.
– Anjan Bose (electrical engineering and computer science)
Regents Professor, Distinguished Professor of Electrical Power Engineering