Barack Obama Barack Obama was born at the Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii to Harvard-educated economist Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a native of Kenya, and S. Ann Dunham, of Wichita, Kansas. At the time of Obama's birth, both his parents were students at the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Barack initially followed his Muslim father's religion, but later became a Christian.
Of his years in Hawaii, Obama has written, "The irony is that my decision to work in politics, and to pursue such a career in a big Mainland city, in some sense grows out of my Hawaiian upbringing, and the ideal that Hawaii still represents in my mind."
When Obama was two years old, his parents divorced. His father eventually returned to Kenya, and he saw his son only once more before his death in 1982. Ann Obama then married his stepfather, Lolo, another East-West Center student from Indonesia. In his early childhood while growing up with his mother, Barack used the name 'Barry'. The family then moved to Jakarta, where Obama's half-sister Maya was born (Obama has other half-siblings from his father's other marriages). When Obama was ten he returned to Hawaii under the care of his grandparents, and later his mother, for the better educational opportunities. He was enrolled in the fifth grade at Punahou School, where he graduated with honors in 1979.