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Obama's International Relatives Talk With VOA

Share personal stories of the President and his inauguration

Washington, D.C., January 22, 2009 - President Obama's cousin from Kenya and his half-sister's cousin from Indonesia visited the Voice of America (VOA) today, where they were interviewed in their home languages about the inauguration.

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"I knew he could be president," said Moses Obama about his famous first cousin. "I knew his ability." Moses Obama, 42, came to the nation's capital from Migori, Kenya, where he is an instructor of banking and finance at the Moi Institute of Technology and Science.

Moses Obama said he met the 44th president of the United States twice; first in 1987 and again in 2006. Moses Obama, whose mother is the sister of Barack Obama's father, said his family has always valued education although they did not pursue politics.

Moses Obama praised the smooth transition from former President Bush's administration to Obama's administration. Kenyans, he said, could learn from the peaceful democratic process. Moses Obama was interviewed both by VOA's English to Africa Service and VOA's Swahili Service.

Sonny Trisulo, 50, of Jakarta, Indonesia, was in Washington with his wife, Lisa, and their three children. Trisulo, whose mother was the sister of Obama's stepfather, said the family had a reunion at the home of the Indonesian ambassador to the United States during the inaugural festivities.

Trisulo, who was interviewed by VOA's Indonesian Service, is the first cousin of Obama's half-sister, Maya Soetoro.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail