Will you remember Barack Obama's inauguration in January or is it Michael Jackson's sudden death that's more likely to stick in your head in years to come? On the dawn of a new year, we ask our Observers what they think was the most significant event of 2009.

“The attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team”

Rizwan Quraishi is an analyst from Karachi, Pakistan.

Image by Hasan Mubarak on Flickr.

I think that for Pakistanis the most significant thing that happened this year was the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team. Before that we felt that terrorists would only target disagreeable forces in society, that it only involved religious fundamentalists. But an attack on a sports team, it goes to show that nobody's safe really." 

Watch Rizwan's submission:

“The assassination of Marwa Sherbini”

Ismail Alexandrani is a blogger and human rights activist from Alexandria, Egypt.

The stabbing to death of this young mother in a courtroom in Germany was found utterly shocking by Egyptians. The crime was profoundly racist and Islamophobic. It doesn't represent the feelings of the whole of Europe, of course, but it reveals a real problem in Europe regarding Islam."

“The Copenhagen climate talks”

Sushma Joshi is a writer from Katmandu, Nepal.

Coming from Nepal, the Copenhagen climate change talks were very important to us because 65% of Nepali people are farmers and for many of them the lack of rain for the past three winters along with the very meagre monsoon we had this year really affected the amount of food they could grow. For many of these people, the food they grow is all they have to eat; they don't have a job. Despite the fact that the Copenhagen talks faced many obstacles in coming together in agreement, at least they brought global attention to this issue from all fronts."

Watch Sushma's submission:

“The inauguration of Mr Obama”

Serigne Diagneis a webmaster from Dakar, Senegal.

For me in Senegal it was the inauguration of Mr Obama. We never thought the US could have a black president, but this showed it's not only a possibility, but a reality! It also proved wrong Mr Sarkozy, who said that ‘African man has never sufficiently entered into history'."

“Iran’s protest movements”

Omid Habibinia is a journalist and media researcher from Iran, who currently lives in Sweden.

As an Iranian the most significant event for us was the protest movements which began in June and July during the first election protests. The demand and the desire of the people to change the whole system; it was like a real revolution. It changed the way of thinking for many Iranians inside and outside the country."  

Watch Omid's submission:

“The H1N1 outbreak”

Gabriel Infante is a blogger and journalist from Mexico City.

Photo taken by Eneas on April 26, 2009.

The most significant event of the year in Mexico was the influenza A (H1N1) crisis. During the first few days there was a lot of panic: people rushed to the supermarkets and drugstores to buy surgery masks and hospitals were packed. But what astonished me most was seeing Mexico City empty, like a ghost city, during the weekend shutdowns. It was unimaginable that something like this could happen in a city of 20 million inhabitants, known for its traffic jams and round-the-clock activities."

Watch Gabriel's submission in full: