President Barack Obama has visited more than 50 countries in his eight years in office, and this week he’s taking his final overseas trip as president — a tour of Europe.
Obama has so far spent much of his trip reassuring allies in Europe who are anxious about the unexpected election of Donald Trump and “Brexit,” the British vote to leave the European Union, both of which Obama campaigned against.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the president visited Greece, where he climbed the Acropolis in Athens, toured the Parthenon and met with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Obama was the first U.S. president to visit the capital city in 17 years, and he thanked Athens for the “most precious of gifts:” democracy.
“The basic longing to live with dignity, the fundamental desire to have control of our lives and our future, and to want to be a part of determining the course of our communities and our nations — these yearnings are universal. They burn in every human heart,” the president said in Athens, the birthplace of democracy.
"We’re indebted to Greece for the most precious of gifts—the truth, the understanding that as individuals of free will, we have the right and the capacity to govern ourselves. For it was here, 25 centuries ago, in the rocky hills of this city, that a new idea emerged. Demokratia…The notion that we are citizens—not servants, but stewards of our society. The concept of citizenship—that we have both rights and responsibilities. The belief in equality before the law—not just for a few, but for the many; not just for the majority, but also the minority. These are all concepts that grew out of this rocky soil." —President Obama in Athens, Greece, the birthplace of democracy
"The basic longing to live with dignity, the fundamental desire to have control of our lives and our future, and to want to be a part of determining the course of our communities and our nations—these yearnings are universal. They burn in every human heart." —President Obama speaking in Athens, Greece, the birthplace of democracy.
"So many of our ideas of democracy, so much of our literature and philosophy and science can be traced back to roots right here in Athens. I’m told there is a saying from those ancient times—kalos kai agathos—when someone or something is good and beautiful on the outside, but also good and noble on the inside, in terms of character and in terms of purpose. And I think that’s a fine description of the friendship that exists between the Greek people and the American people." —President Obama speaking in Greece on his final foreign trip 🇬🇷🇺🇸
On Thursday, Obama arrived to Berlin, where he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. As he bid farewell to Merkel, whom he recently called his “closest international partner these past eight years,” he assured her — and Europeans in general — that progress will ultimately prevail, despite the current political turmoil.
“I think our politics everywhere are going to be going through a bumpy phase,” Obama said. “As long as we stay true to our democratic principles, as long as elections have integrity, as long as we respect freedom of speech, freedom of religion, as long as there are checks and balances in our governments … then I have confidence that over the long term, progress will continue.”
"Last week marked the 27th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The United States was proud to stand with the people of Germany as this nation and this continent reunited, and rebuilt, and reached for a better future. And it’s a reminder that the commitment of the United States to Europe is enduring and is rooted in the values we share…Our commitment to democracy; our commitment to rule of law; our commitment to the dignity of all people—in our own countries and around the world." —President Obama alongside German Chancellor Merkel
Obama spent the night in Berlin before continuing on to Peru, where he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima this weekend.
In honor of his final overseas trip as president, here’s a look back at some of the most captivating photos from Obama’s travels abroad:
June 2009: President Obama and Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud share a laugh during a welcoming reception at the king’s ranch in al-Janadriya in the outskirts of Riyadh. Obama visited Saudi Arabia in the summer of 2009 at the start of a mission to the Middle East to reach out to the world’s Muslims and promote peace.
June 2009: President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton tour the Sultan Hassan Mosque in Cairo, Egypt. The president later delivered a speech at Cairo University in which he promised a “new beginning” in the United States’ relationships with Muslims around the world.
June 2009: President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, along with former Nazi concentration camp inmates Elie Wiesel (right) and Bertrand Herz (left), visit the camp at Buchenwald near in the eastern German city of Weimar. About 56,000 people were killed at the camp in the Nazi era.
May 2011: Queen Elizabeth II poses with President Obama, his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace ahead of a State Banquet in London, England. The Obamas traveled to the U.K. for a two-day State Visit at the invitation of the Queen.
November 2011: President Obama and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono don Indonesian traditional clothes to attend the gala dinner during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and East Asia Summit in Nusa Dua in Indonesia’s resort island of Bali.
November 2012: President Obama returns a greeting to Bun Rany, wife of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (center), prior to a gala dinner in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Obama was in Cambodia on the final leg of his three-country tour of Southeast Asia.
November 2012: President Obama toasts with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra during an official dinner at the Thai Government House in Bangkok.
March 2014: Pope Francis speaks with President Obama during a private audience at the Vatican in Rome. The meeting came amid Obama’s six-day European tour.
May 2014: President Obama speaks during a surprise visit with U.S. troops at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, prior to the Memorial Day holiday.
September 2014: President Obama visits Stonehenge after attending a NATO summit in Newport, Wales.
June 2015: President Obama toasts with a beer as he sits between men dressed in traditional Bavarian clothes during a visit to the village of Kruen, southern Germany, ahead of the G-7 summit.
June 2015: President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G7 Summit in Krün, Germany.
July 2015: President Obama greets children at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.
April 2016: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama meet Prince George at Kensington Palace in London as Prince William and Princess Kate look on. At the White House Correspondents’ Dinner later that month, Obama joked that Prince George showing up to their meeting in his bathrobe was “a slap in the face.”
May 2016: President Obama and CNN’s Anthony Bourdain enjoy a $12-meal at a restaurant in downtown Hanoi, Vietnam. The dinner was featured on an episode of the Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown show.