"I am also optimistic about his ideas, and about Mr. Obama, because he is a good leader and I am his fan," said Muhammad Shakir Murady, 25. "I think this is a new man, a new view, and I think it will change a lot."
In Pakistan, where the United States is sending billions in aid and fighting the Taliban's growing presence, reaction from citizens was mixed. Some said they don't expect U.S. policy toward their country to change under Obama, while others expressed more optimism.
"It seems very encouraging that he is positive, and his policies are much different than the previous regime," Abdul Rauf told ABC News on a street in Islamabad. "On the other hand, you have to prove with your actions you are ... helping us out and have to stop ... drone attacks because it is increasing the terrorism in Pakistan, and that would not help in the long run."
As expected, Obama did not lay out a detailed plan for a Middle East peace process during his speech but did reiterate his call for a two-state solution with Israelis and Palestinians living side by side.
"That is in Israel's interest, Palestine's interest, America's interest, and the world's interest," he said as he pledged to pursue that outcome "with all the patience that the task requires."
He called upon the Israeli government to halt settlement activity, but he also assailed Palestinian leaders for having pursued a violent path that cost them the moral high ground.
"Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed," he said, unfavorably comparing the Palestinians' struggles with that of the civil disobedience exemplified by civil rights activists.
"It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus," the president said. "That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered."
He also called upon Israel to "live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society."
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Obama's speech gave the United States an upper hand over al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, who released a tape Wednesday denouncing the new president's policies.
"America is no longer losing that PR war," Emanuel said on ABC's "Good Morning America." "Today, al Qaeda, from a communications standpoint ... they are more on a defensive posture."
Emanuel said Obama's speech was meant to continue a dialogue, but it should not be taken as a "silver bullet."
"If that's the standard, then you'll be disappointed, but that's not the standard and measurement, from our perspective," he said. "You're not going to see all of a sudden a turn but America's position as an honest broker."
There is "no doubt in my mind that this [Israeli/Palestinian issue] is and will continue to be the core issue that feeds and fuels all the other problems" in the Islamic world, Gamal Mubarak said.
Conservative talk-show host Sean Hannity criticized the president shortly after his speech, calling it "an apology tour" that sends the wrong message to the world.
But Gamal said the U.S. president needed to directly address the people in the Muslim world.