Full Life Hero: Ann Dunham Soetoro

I have recently been reading about Ann Dunham Soetoro (Sutoro), anthropologist, development activist, and mother of President Barack Obama.

As impressive as her son’s accomplishments have been, we should be inspired by the example set by Dr. Soetoro. Married with a child by age 18, Soetoro nonetheless raised her child while continuing with her scholarly activities. She went on to receive a bachelor’s in 1967, and a doctorate in 1992, all the while supporting and nurturing a boy who would one day become president. She focused her anthropological studies in Indonesia, where she studied peasant blacksmithing. Having completed her dissertation, Soetoro went on to becoming a tireless advocate for the use of microcredit in supporting indigenous industry, and worked with international development organizations to help foster local businesses.

While many of us may focus on the high profile activities her son, it is important that we remember the academic and community efforts of this remarkable woman, efforts that set the tone for her son’s commitment to public works.


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