Jan 21

Past Event

Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address and U.S. Foreign Policy

Event Materials



  • Carlos Pascual

    Pascual says the President''s inaugural address sent a clear message to the American people, to business leaders and international communities urging all parties to do their part to move us all forward.

    Carlos Pascual

  • Michael Fullilove

    Fullilove says President Obama''s speech advanced key aspects of his foreign policy agenda and promised humility and restraint in our relationships with our global neighbors

    Michael Fullilove

  • Michael Gerson

    President Obama, Gerson says, in some ways, rejected the traditional themes of many notable inaugural speeches.

  • Vinca LaFleur

    La Fleur says the President''s speech was sober, well-crafted and addressed the need for responsible action from the electorate and the government alike.


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The inauguration of Barack Obama as president of the United States will be observed intently by billions of people around the world. A gifted writer and speaker, Obama has been compared to past Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. How did Obama’s inaugural address measure up? What clues did it provide to his future governing approach and foreign policies?

On January 21, the Brookings Institution and Australia’s Lowy Institute for International Policy hosted a panel discussion on the inaugural address, featuring observations from former presidential speechwriters and foreign policy analysts. The panelists examined the new president’s speech, analyzing its style and its implications for America’s relations with the world.

Carlos Pascual, vice president and director of Foreign Policy at Brookings, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion. Pascual was joined by Michael Gerson, former head of speechwriting for President George W. Bush; Vinca LaFleur, former foreign policy speechwriter for President Bill Clinton; and Michael Fullilove, Brookings visiting fellow and program director for global issues at the Lowy Institute. After the program, panelists took audience questions.

Event Agenda


January 21, 2009

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM EST

The Brookings Institution

Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW


For More Information

Brookings Office of Communications

(202) 797-6105