Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ann Dunham - Mother of our President

A L O H A !

" “We read to know we are not alone.” 

C.S. Lewis


" A lot of parents pack up their troubles

and send them off to summer camp.  "

Raymond Duncan

History is, strictly speaking,
the study of questions; 
the study of answers 
belongs to anthropology and sociology.  "

W. H. Auden 

" Anthropology
is the most humanistic of the sciences 
and the most scientific 
of the humanities.  "

Alfred L. Kroeber

" Anthropology is the science
which tells us that people are the same
the whole world over - 
except when they are different.  "
Nancy Banks Smith

President Barack Obama's mother,
Stanley Ann Dunham,
accomplished significant work as an anthropologist
when she and young Barack lived in Indonesia.

Last Sunday, at the East-West Center
here in Honolulu,
an exhibit opened which includes
photographs of Dunham
which were never displayed publicly before.

The exhibit is called:

"Through Her Eyes:
Ann Dunham's Field Work In Indonesia."

On display are also Indonesian crafts
and art indicative of the young scholar/mother's
life and work.

The photos are mostly non-professional 'fieldwork'
shot by colleagues working alongside her.

Here is a look into her pioneering work
among laboring Indonesian people,
including masters of various indigenous crafts.

Some of the crafts on display
were even collected by Dunham herself.

Though an academic anthropologist,
she hoped that her scholarship would make a difference in the lives of the people she came to like and admire.

Dunham had met Indonesian scholar
Lolo Soetoro
at the same East-West Center
while both were students
at the University of Hawaii.

They married in Hawaii in 1965.

Soetoro is the father of the President's sister,

Maya Soetoro Ing

Young Barack attended kindergarten
from 1966 to 1967 at Noelani Elementary School
near the University campus here in Honolulu.

Soetoro, a geographer,
returned to Indonesia in 1966,
to help map Western New Guinea
for the Indonesian government.

Dunham and her son
lived with her parents in Honolulu
(where young Barack had been born
at Kapiolani Hospital)
while she completed her studies
at the University of Hawaii.

She earned her B.A. in anthropology in 1967.

( The young mother had filed for divorce
from her estranged husband, Barack Obama Sr.
In January 1964. Barack senior had left Hawaii
in June 1962.)

In 1967, Dunham and her six-year-old son,
our future President,
moved to Jakarta to rejoin Soetoro. 

There Dunham taught English
and was an assistant director of the Lembaga Persahabatan Indonesia Amerika (LIA)
–the Indonesia-America Friendship Institute–which was subsidized by U.S. government.

Young Obama attended the Indonesian-language Santo Fransiskus Asisi
(St. Francis of Assisi) Catholic School around the corner 
from their house for 1st, 2nd, and part of 3rd grade.

The exhibit on the campus of my alma mater, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, 
will be on display until January, 
which includes the time when the APEC conference
will be meeting virtually under my window
at the Hawaii Convention Center in early November.

Thanks so much for visiting!
kindly leave your comment
   Warmly, cloudai