September 24, 2009
Obama’s Speech to the United Nations General Assembly
Following is a text of President Obama's speech to the United Nations General Assembly
on Wednesday, as released by the White House.
¶1 Good morning. Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and
gentlemen, it is my honor to address you for the first time as the 44th President of the
United States. (Applause.) I come before you humbled by the responsibility that the
American people have placed upon me, mindful of the enormous challenges of our
moment in history, and determined to act boldly and collectively on behalf of justice and
prosperity at home and abroad.
¶2 I have been in office for just nine months -- though some days it seems a lot longer. I
am well aware of the expectations that accompany my presidency around the world.
These expectations are not about me. Rather, they are rooted, I believe, in a discontent
with a status quo that has allowed us to be increasingly defined by our differences, and
outpaced by our problems. But they are also rooted in hope -- the hope that real change is
possible, and the hope that America will be a leader in bringing about such change.
¶3 I took office at a time when many around the world had come to view America with
skepticism and distrust. Part of this was due to misperceptions and misinformation about
my country. Part of this was due to opposition to specific policies, and a belief that on
certain critical issues, America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of
others. And this has fed an almost reflexive anti-Americanism, which too often has
served as an excuse for collective inaction.
¶4 Now, like all of you, my responsibility is to act in the interest of my nation and my
people, and I will never apologize for defending those interests. But it is my deeply held
belief that in the year 2009 -- more than at any point in human history -- the interests of
nations and peoples are shared. The religious convictions that we hold in our hearts can
forge new bonds among people, or they can tear us apart. The technology we harness can
light the path to peace, or forever darken it. The energy we use can sustain our planet, or
destroy it. What happens to the hope of a single child -- anywhere -- can enrich our
world, or impoverish it.