From Europe and Asia to the Middle East, many expressed amazement that the US could overcome centuries of racial strife and elect an African-American president.
"If it were possible for me to get to the United States on my bicycle, I would," said Joseph Ochieng, a 36-year-old carpenter who lives in Kenya's sprawling Kibera shantytown.
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki declared a public holiday Thursday in the country of Obama's late father, allowing celebrations to continue through the night and into a second day.
Scenes of jubilation broke out in the western Kenya village of Kogelo, where many of Obama's Kenyan relatives still live. People sang, danced in the streets and wrapped themselves in U.S. flags. A group of exuberant residents picked up the president-elect's half brother Malik and carried him through the village.
"Unbelievable!" Malik Obama shouted, "Obama's coming, make way!"
Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, said Obama gave the world the courage to dream.
"Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place," Mandela said in a letter of congratulations.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf — the first woman elected to head an African country — said she did not expect to see a black American president in her lifetime.
"All Africans now know that if you persevere, all things are possible," she said.
In the New Nyanza provincial general hospital in Kisumu, the capital of the region which is home to Barack Obama's ancestral village, a woman gave birth to twins she named Obama and Michelle.
At least eight other boys were named Barack or Obama in this hospital alone while maternities in the capital Nairobi and across the entire country reported new namesakes for the future occupants of the White House.
In Indonesia, where Obama lived as child, hundreds of students at his former elementary school erupted in cheers when he was declared winner, pouring into the courtyard where they hugged, danced in the rain and chanted "Obama! Obama!"
"I remember in the class book, all students were writing down their goals and wishes. Some said they wanted to be lawyers, soldiers, pilot and doctors, but he was the one who said he wanted to be president," said Dewi Asmara, a former classmate.
"We never understood what was on his mind that day."
Obama's classmates said they were delighted with his win because they felt a special emotional connection with the Democrat who spent four years in Indonesia.
The town of Obama, Japan, celebrated the presidential victory of the US politician who shares the town's name with singing, dancing and chanting.
Parties at the town's seafront museum featured revelers celebrating the victory of Democratic President-elect Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States, with celebratory singing, hula dancing and chants of "We love Obama," The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.
"This all started as a bit of a joke. But as more and more people got involved, it became more serious," said Yasunori Maeno, secretary of the Obama for Obama campaign group. "Now there are many businesses involved in the Obama campaign and it will continue now that he is president. This will change the future for us."
The Obama for Obama group said more than 1,300 residents of the town of 33,000 participated in their campaign during the past four months.
Europe, where Obama is overwhelmingly popular, is one region that looked eagerly to an Obama administration for a revival in warm relations after the Bush government's chilly rift with the continent over the Iraq war.
"At a time when we have to confront immense challenges together, your election raises great hopes in France, in Europe and in the rest of the world," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a congratulations letter to Obama.
Skepticism, however, was high in the Muslim world. The Bush administration alienated the Middle East by mistreating prisoners at its detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and inmates at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison — human rights violations also condemned worldwide.
Some Iraqis, who have suffered through five years of a war ignited by the United States and its allies, said they would believe positive change when they saw it.
"Obama's victory will do nothing for the Iraqi issue nor for the Palestinian issue," said Muneer Jamal, a Baghdad resident. "I think all the promises Obama made during the campaign will remain mere promises."
Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey wept tears of joy, Leonardo DiCaprio said he was proud to be an American and several hip-hop music stars said Sen. Barack Obama's election as the first black U.S. president fulfilled the dreams of America's youth.
"It feels like America did the right thing," Winfrey told CNN. "It feels like there's a shift in consciousness. It feels like something really big and bold has happened here, like nothing ever in our lifetimes did we expect this to happen."
“Obama for Obama”声援团的秘书Yasunori Maeno 说：“刚开始带有一点玩笑的性质，但随着参与的人越来越多，事情就‘闹’大了。现在我们这里有很多企业都参加了奥巴马声援团，现在他当选了，我们还会一如既往地支持他。这也会改变我们的未来。”
巴格达居民Muneer Jamal 说：“奥巴马的当选无论对于伊拉克问题还是巴勒斯坦问题，都毫无意义。在我看来，他在竞选时做出的那些承诺到头来还是空头支票。”
（实习生许雅宁 英语点津 姗姗 编辑）