WE welcome and congratulate Barack Hussein Obama on his assumption of the office of the 44th president of the United States. President Obama takes up his grave responsibility at a time of extraordinary turmoil and peril, both for America and the entire world, and we hope that he will succeed in leading his country with the integrity, vision, and sagacity that his remarkable rise promises.
President Obama's ascension to the US presidency is a historic event. The fact that an African-American is now the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth reflects how much America has matured and is both a shining example to all other countries around the world as well as a signal to them that a new day is dawning.
However, the significance of Obama's presidency lies in far more than just his race. The recent horrific events in Gaza, as well as the continuing turmoil in Iraq and Afghanistan, merely serve to underscore the dangers of the world today and how bold and visionary American leadership is now more necessary than ever before.
There are other dangers before the world as well, most notably the global financial crisis which threatens to decimate economies and has already thrown millions into poverty, with no respite in sight.
Both America and the world are in desperate need of visionary leadership that will take the country in a new direction away from the failed policies of the out-going Bush administration that has brought the US and the world to the brink of catastrophe.
President Obama's inaugural address gives us great hope. In it he has pledged a new direction for America under his leadership and has vowed to fundamentally alter America's relationship with the rest of the world. Especially for those of us watching from overseas, it was heartening to hear him talk in the language of inclusiveness and amity, of partnership and mutual respect.
We in South Asia who greatly welcomed his electoral victory look forward to his close attention in promoting peace in the region and advancing the cause of rapid poverty alleviation. As for Bangladesh we expect closer cooperation with the USA and her greater investment in our economy.
The promise of an Obama presidency is that the most powerful nation on the planet will be a beacon of liberty and justice around the globe, that it will take the lead in peacemaking and development, that it will re-take its seat among the community of nations, earning the respect and admiration of all.
President Obama's inaugural address hit all the right notes. We sincerely hope that he will be able to live up to his soaring and inspiring rhetoric, and that he will succeed in his quest to usher in an era of fundamental change for the good of his country and the whole world.