International students see Obama as a world leader, drawn to election process

Leila Archer

‘Historic election’ had the whole world watching outcome

In the days leading up to the 2008 Presidential Election, Bilal Ciplak, a justice studies graduate student from Turkey, said places all over his native country were holding mock elections, and religious groups were having rituals.

Ciplak said many people from his country supported President-elect Barack Obama and were very pleased with the outcome of the election.

“This is the first election, I can assure you, that every country in the world participated in,” Vice Provost Steve Michael said, adding that this is very indicative of how important the United States is to the rest of the world.

“This is a historic election for the United States,” Michael said. “Because of that, the whole world was interested in the outcome.”

Annabel Seubert, a student at the University of Marburg in Germany, said she was very excited about the outcome.

“I watched the election on the TV the whole night just to know how it would turn out,” she said.

Ciplak said that he liked Obama because of his approach to international relations.

“He has a very peaceful approach to world issues,” he explained.

He said with Obama as president, he hopes that the president-elect will make the world a more peaceful place.

“People expect that from America,” he said. “It is a superpower.”

Seubert said she believes that the U.S. is taking a step in the right direction by electing Obama.

“His program stands for change,” she said. “In the past years, so much went wrong, and he sees the problems and has the solution.”

Both Ciplak and Seubert said that they would like to see Obama fix the American economic crisis because it also affects the global economic situation.

They also said this election has improved the world’s opinion of the U.S.

“America had a very bad image,” Ciplak said.

On the other hand, if John McCain had been elected, Seubert said public opinion could have changed in two ways.

“One is that it cannot be any worse – it already is,” she said. “The other is that maybe he was part of the Republicans that have a different view than Bush, and he might change things.”

Ciplak said that McCain was a good candidate as well, although he was not his choice for president.

Both Ciplak and Seubert said the best part of the election started after the president had been declared.

Seubert said that she thought Obama’s speech in Chicago was amazing. She said she also liked when McCain congratulated Obama on his win.

“McCain totally behaved right, and now he still has a chance for the next election,” she said.

Contact international affairs reporter Leila Archer at [email protected].