University of Calgary

Obama: now what?

January 20, 2009


Obama’s in the White House. Now what?

Once all the tears, pop concerts and speeches have ended in Washington, President Barack Obama’s real job will begin.

The new president will have the unenviable task of uniting a country long-fractured by issues of race and socio-economic inequalities while confronting an array of current crises like two Middle Eastern wars, the deepening recession and ongoing dangers of global warming.

The world will be watching as the Obama administration’s early moves have the potential to affect not just Americans but people around the globe. And as America’s biggest trading partner, long-time ally and next-door neighbour, there could be significant implications for Canada.

The University of Calgary’s School of Policy Studies has numerous experts available to help journalists to keep up with this evolving story and will provide two media availabilities later this week.

Terry Terriff will talk about the challenges facing U.S. security policy in the new Obama administration. Terriff holds the Arthur J. Child chair of American security policy and is a senior research fellow of the U of C’s Centre for Military and Strategic Studies.

Obama faces several immediate security issues, including the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, the ongoing war in Afghanistan and volatile relationships with Iran and Pakistan as the U.S. continues its fight against international terrorism. All this will be framed within the context of India and China’s growing power, a more assertive Russia and widespread dislike of the U.S. within the international community.

Terriff will be available to talk to the media Thursday, Jan. 22 from 2 to 3 p.m.

Betsy Jameson is a U of C history professor and Imperial Oil-Lincoln McKay Chair of American Studies who was able to secure a rare ticket to the inauguration celebrations in Washington this week. While there, Jameson kept in touch with the U of C community through regular emails. In her first blog entry, prof. Jameson described being in Washington for this historic occasion:

“The scene at the Mall, between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial is amazing. An enormous, packed crowd of all ages and all colours, is peacefully listening to Garth Brooks and Bono and a host of others…Then the president-elect spoke. You could have heard a pin drop. He talked about the amazing unity of us all—black and white, gay and straight, disabled and not—and said that if we can see humanity in all our faces, if we can fix ourselves, we can fix the world.”

Jameson is pleased to share her stories, memories, and photos with media on Friday, Jan. 23, from 1-3 p.m.

Media contact:
To arrange interviews with Terriff, Jameson or other experts from the U of C’s School of Policy Studies, contact communications director Betty Rice at 403-966-0776 or

The School of Policy Studies at the University of Calgary strives to contribute to a more meaningful and informed public debate on fiscal, social, energy, environmental and international issues to improve Canada’s and Alberta’s economic and social performance. Visit our website at:
Media are welcome to park in any lot on campus. If your vehicle is not marked, please leave a media business card in your window. Please do not park in 24-hour reserved spots, loading zones or handicapped stalls.