President Obama has visited 58 countries over the eight years of his presidency. Along the way, he has met dignitaries and people in all walks of life and seen some of the most treasured spots of the world.
“It’s a very important role for the president of the United States to send a signal to the world that their culture, their traditions, their heritage, their monuments, are something of value, and are precious, and that we have learned from them,” the president said.
Here’s a look back at some of those trips.
Clean energy and climate took center stage when President Obama met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, left, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, middle, in Ottawa, Canada, in June 2016 during the North American Leaders’ Summit. Canada also was the first country President Obama visited after taking office in 2009.
Obama stands in the prison cell on Robben Island, South Africa, where the late South African President Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his 27-year prison term imposed by the former apartheid government. During that June 2013 trip, Obama also met with 600 young African leaders at the University of Johannesburg, connecting members of the next generation of African leaders with one another and the United States.
Presidents Obama and Xi Jinping of China announced new, historic targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions during a November 2014 trip to Beijing. Both leaders were instrumental in achieving the 2015 Paris agreement, in which nearly 200 countries committed to limit the damaging impacts of climate change.
“I’ve come to Havana to extend the hand of friendship to the Cuban people,” Obama said when he visited the island country in March 2016. He was the first U.S. president in nearly 90 years to visit Cuba and its people, just 145 kilometers from U.S. shores. Obama, left, and Cuban President Raúl Castro shake hands after making a joint statement in Havana.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been one of President Obama’s closest partners over the course of his eight-year presidency. The two worked together to restore stability to the global economy, address the refugee crisis, combat climate change and achieve the Iran nuclear deal. The two share a conversation at the Schloss Elmau, a hotel near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, during the G7 summit in June 2015.
A Muslim family in Kolkata, India, reacts as they watch President Obama deliver his June 2009 speech at Cairo University. Obama quoted from the Quran and called for a “new beginning between the United States and Muslims.” Together, they can confront violent extremism across the globe and advance the search for peace in the Middle East, he said.
The U.S. and India rolled out a number of clean energy initiatives during President Obama’s January 2015 visit to India, the second to that country of his presidency. Obama, with first lady Michelle Obama, greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi upon arrival in New Delhi. India has since signed the historic Paris climate agreement with more than 170 nations to combat climate change.
“Daw Suu, you helped set this country on a better path,” President Obama said in September 2016, standing in front of the house in which Aung San Suu Kyi endured years of confinement as a political prisoner. Earlier in the year, Suu Kyi took office after the Burmese people voted in her party in a landslide victory. Her political transformation mirrors that of the country, which has overcome decades of military rule to achieve democracy.
President Obama launched Trade Africa to boost commercial ties with and within Africa during his three-country African trip in the summer of 2013. The president and first lady wave to President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Tanzanian first lady Salma Kikwete from Air Force One before leaving Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The president also visited South Africa and Senegal.
“One of the great joys of being the president is the ability to travel and see different cultures and meet different people. That’s important for our national security, but it’s also important for us to understand ourselves and our place in the world.”
– President Obama