Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States in January 2009, the first African-American to hold the office. After graduating from Columbia University and Harvard Law School, Obama took a job as a community organizer on the South side of Chicago and became involved in Democratic politics. He taught in the University of Chicago law school (1992-2004) before serving in the Illinois Senate (1997-2004) and as the US Senator from Illinois (2004-2008). The domestic and foreign agenda of his presidency have been shaped by the global financial crisis, the health care reform debate, and ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of his most important international initiatives was an opening to the Muslim world in a June 2009 Cairo speech. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama spoke frequently of his personal Christian faith and of the importance of ethical and religious values in creating a more just society.