Maya Soetoro-Ng

Maya Soetoro-Ng

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Maya Kassandra Soetoro-Ng ' onMouseout='HidePop("6420")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Jakarta">Jakarta
Jakarta
Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. Officially known as the Special Capital Territory of Jakarta, it is located on the northwest coast of Java, has an area of , and a population of 9,580,000. Jakarta is the country's economic, cultural and political centre...

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

) is the maternal half-sister of Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

, the 44th and current President of the United States. She was previously a high school history teacher and university instructor in Hawaii.

Early life


Soetoro-Ng was born Maya Soetoro to Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

n businessman Lolo Soetoro
Lolo Soetoro
Lolo Soetoro, also known as Lolo Soetoro Mangunharjo or Mangundikardjo, was the Indonesian stepfather of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America.-Early life and education:...

 and American cultural anthropologist Ann Dunham
Ann Dunham
Stanley Ann Dunham , the mother of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, was an American anthropologist who specialized in economic anthropology and rural development. Dunham was nicknamed Anna, later known as Dr. Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro, and finally Ann Dunham Sutoro...

. Her elder half-brother is the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

. She has said she was named after
Namesake
Namesake is a term used to characterize a person, place, thing, quality, action, state, or idea that has the same, or a similar, name to another....

 American poet Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou is an American author and poet who has been called "America's most visible black female autobiographer" by scholar Joanne M. Braxton. She is best known for her series of six autobiographical volumes, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first and most highly...

.

Soetoro-Ng and Obama spent several years together in Indonesia and in Hawaii before her mother decided to return to Indonesia with her.

After her parents divorced in 1980, her father remarried. From this marriage, Soetoro-Ng has another half-brother, Yusuf Aji Soetoro (b. 1981), and a half-sister, Rahayu Nurmaida Soetoro (b. 1984).

While living in Indonesia, she was home schooled by her mother and then attended Jakarta International School
Jakarta International School
Jakarta International School is a private, international school in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was established in 1951 for expatriate students living in Jakarta and is the largest international primary and secondary school in Indonesia....

 from 1981 to 1984. Like her older half-brother, Soetoro-Ng returned to Hawaii and attended the private Punahou School
Punahou School
Punahou School, once known as Oahu College, is a private, co-educational, college preparatory school located in Honolulu CDP, City and County of Honolulu in the U.S. State of Hawaii...

 in Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Hawaii. Honolulu is the southernmost major U.S. city. Although the name "Honolulu" refers to the urban area on the southeastern shore of the island of Oahu, the city and county government are consolidated as the City and...

, graduating in 1988.

She is an alumna of Barnard College
Barnard College
Barnard College is a private women's liberal arts college and a member of the Seven Sisters. Founded in 1889, Barnard has been affiliated with Columbia University since 1900. The campus stretches along Broadway between 116th and 120th Streets in the Morningside Heights neighborhood in the borough...

 in Manhattan, New York. She received an M.A.
Master of Arts (postgraduate)
A Master of Arts from the Latin Magister Artium, is a type of Master's degree awarded by universities in many countries. The M.A. is usually contrasted with the M.S. or M.Sc. degrees...

 degree in secondary language studies and an M.A.
Master of Arts (postgraduate)
A Master of Arts from the Latin Magister Artium, is a type of Master's degree awarded by universities in many countries. The M.A. is usually contrasted with the M.S. or M.Sc. degrees...

 degree in English from New York University
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

 and a Ph.D degree in international comparative education from the University of Hawaii.

Soetoro-Ng has often spoken warmly about her relationship with her older half-brother, which she says has remained strong even though they have often lived far apart. As adults, they have often celebrated Christmas in Hawaii, and savor the time they spend with their families together.

Career



Soetoro-Ng authored a children's book, Ladder to the Moon, that was inspired by her mother and her daughter, Suhaila; it was published in 2011.It's also reported that she is working on a book about peace education and conflict resolution in high schools.

She was a high-school history teacher at La Pietra: Hawaii School for Girls
La Pietra: Hawaii School for Girls
La Pietra: Hawaii School for Girls, also referred to as La Pietra or Hawaii School for Girls, is a private school for girls in grades 6–12 located in Honolulu, Hawaii. Founded in 1964 by Lorraine Cooke, it moved to the current La Pietra campus in 1969. Barbara Cox Anthony has chaired the...

 and the Education Laboratory School
Education Laboratory School
Education Laboratory School is a charter school in Honolulu, Hawai‘i serving grades K-12. Prior to 2002, the school was known as the University Laboratory School or University High School when it was a part of the College of Education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa...

, both in Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Hawaii. Honolulu is the southernmost major U.S. city. Although the name "Honolulu" refers to the urban area on the southeastern shore of the island of Oahu, the city and county government are consolidated as the City and...

. She also taught night classes at the University of Hawaii
University of Hawaii
The University of Hawaii System, formally the University of Hawaii and popularly known as UH, is a public, co-educational college and university system that confers associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees through three university campuses, seven community college campuses, an employment...

. She previously taught and developed curriculum
Curriculum
See also Syllabus.In formal education, a curriculum is the set of courses, and their content, offered at a school or university. As an idea, curriculum stems from the Latin word for race course, referring to the course of deeds and experiences through which children grow to become mature adults...

 at The Learning Project, an alternative public middle school
Middle school
Middle School and Junior High School are levels of schooling between elementary and high schools. Most school systems use one term or the other, not both. The terms are not interchangeable...

 in New York City, from 1996–2000.

In 2009 Soetoro-Ng helped bring her mother's dissertation to publication in the form of the book Surviving against the Odds: Village Industry in Indonesia. She wrote a foreword to the book and participated in its launch at the American Anthropological Association annual meeting. Most recently, she was an Education Specialist at the East West Center and an Assistant Professor at the University of Hawai'i College of Education.

Research


Maya's doctoral research at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu focused on Comparative International Education, and involved a study comparing an international school in Indonesia where she taught, and a school in New York. She particularly looked at qualitative differences, interviewing students, staff, and other people involved in the two schools.

Obama presidential campaign


In May 2007, Soetoro-Ng announced that she would assist Obama in his campaign for president, and took two months off to campaign for him. Soetoro-Ng participated in the 2008 Democratic National Convention
2008 Democratic National Convention
The United States 2008 Democratic National Convention was a quadrennial presidential nominating convention of the Democratic Party where it adopted its national platform and officially nominated its candidates for President and Vice President of the United States. The convention was held in Denver,...

 where she spoke briefly about growing up with her half-brother and brought an Asian-American presence to the stage.

Personal


In 2003 Soetoro married Chinese Canadian
Chinese Canadian
Chinese Canadians are Canadians of Chinese descent. They constitute the second-largest visible minority group in Canada, after South Asian Canadians...

 Konrad Ng (Simplified Chinese: 吴加儒) of Burlington
Burlington, Ontario
Burlington , is a city located in Halton Region at the western end of Lake Ontario. Burlington is part of the Greater Toronto Area, and is also included in the Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area. Physically, Burlington lies between the north shore of Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment...

, Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, Canada. Her husband, now also a US citizen, is an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii's Academy of Creative Media. They have two daughters, Suhaila and Savita. Konrad Ng became the scholar-in-residence at the Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities, and magazines...

’s Asian Pacific American Program in 2009.

Soetoro-Ng has described herself as "philosophically Buddhist." She is fluent in the Indonesian language
Indonesian language
Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia. Indonesian is a normative form of the Riau Islands dialect of Malay, an Austronesian language which has been used as a lingua franca in the Indonesian archipelago for centuries....

, Spanish, and English.