18
Mar
15

The First Lady Travels To Japan And Cambodia

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First Lady Michelle Obama Visits Japan And Cambodia

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama has arrived in Japan for a three-day visit designed to highlight her global women’s education initiative.

The First Lady landed late Wednesday in the capital, Tokyo.

On Thursday, she will hold separate meetings with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie. She also plans to meet with the Emperor and Empress of Japan before heading to Kyoto, on Friday.

A White House statement said the First Lady will announce a partnership between the U.S. and Japan on the Let Girls Learn initiative, which aims to help educate the 62 million girls globally who do not attend school.

On Friday, she will head to Cambodia, which is one of 11 countries initially included in the initiative. It is the first time that a sitting U.S. first lady has visited the Southeast Asian country.

In Cambodia, Michelle Obama will meet Bun Rany, the Cambodian first lady. She will also meet meet volunteers with the U.S. Peace Corps program, which will play a key role in helping expand access for schooling for girls.

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Instagram: A stunning view flying over Alaska’s Chugach Mountains

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The First Lady:

This week, I will be traveling to Japan and Cambodia — and I want young people like you across America to join me!

This trip technically starts today when I leave the White House and get on a plane for a long flight to Asia. But really, this visit is part of a journey that began decades ago, back when I was a little girl.

Like many of you, I came from a pretty modest background. My family didn’t have much money, and my parents raised me and my brother, Craig, in a tiny apartment in Chicago, Illinois. While my mom and dad never had the chance to attend college, they were determined to see me and Craig get the best education possible.

School was the center of our lives, and I worked as hard as I could to learn as much as possible. I often woke up at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning to study, because that was the only time our little apartment was ever really quiet.

With my parents’ encouragement and a lot of hard work, I was able to get into college and get the financial aid I needed to pay for it — and my college education opened doors of opportunity I never could have dreamed of back in that tiny apartment. I studied subjects I was passionate about — like English literature, African American history and sociology. I met classmates and professors from all over the world who opened my mind to all kinds of new ideas. And because I got my college degree, I was able to attend law school, become a lawyer, work in city government and as a hospital executive, and even run a non-profit organization that trained young people in Chicago to serve their communities.

Unfortunately, so many girls just like me and like many of you — girls who are so curious and hungry to learn, and so willing to work hard — never have the chance to get an education. Right now, 62 million girls worldwide are not in school at all. Many of them simply can’t afford the school fees (unlike in America, where every student can go to school for free, in many countries, parents have to pay to send their children to school). Sometimes, even if their parents can afford it, the nearest school might be miles away, and it’s simply not safe for girls to walk there and back each day. Sometimes, a school will be located nearby, but it might not have bathrooms for girls, so they simply can’t attend. And in some countries, girls are forced to get married and have children at a young age — sometimes before they’re even teenagers — instead of getting an education.

This is such a heartbreaking loss, not just for those girls, but for their families, communities and countries. Studies show that girls who attend school have healthier families, earn higher salaries and even help boost their entire countries’ economies.

That’s why, earlier this month, the United States Government launched a new initiative called Let Girls Learn that will help girls worldwide go to school and stay in school. Through Let Girls Learn, we’ll be supporting education projects across the globe — leadership programs and mentorship programs, and so much more.

But the United States can’t address the global girls’ education crisis all by ourselves — it’s just too big. We need countries around the world to step up and help. That’s why I’m starting my trip in Japan — because this week, the United States and Japan will be announcing a new partnership to educate girls worldwide, and we’ll be calling on other countries to join us in this effort.

After spending a few days in Japan, I will be heading to Cambodia, which is one of the very first countries where Let Girls Learn programs will operate. I will visit a school and meet with girls whose lives are being transformed by the power of education.

But while the focus of Let Girls Learn is international, this effort is also very much about inspiring young people like you here at home to truly commit to your own education.

Through Let Girls Learn, I hope that more girls — and boys — here in America will learn about the sacrifices that girls around the world are making just to go to school each day: working multiple jobs to pay their school fees, enduring threats and harassment from people in their communities who think girls shouldn’t attend school, walking for hours each way to school, and more.

I want all of you to be inspired and motivated by these girls. I want you to realize that while your own school might be far from perfect — and my husband is working as hard as he can to fix that — you still need to show up to your classroom every day and learn as much as you can.

And finally, I want young people like you to be citizens of the world — I want you to connect with other young people of every background and nationality and learn about what’s happening in countries across the globe.

That’s why, as I travel, I will be using all kinds of social media to share my trip with you — and I’ll be taking questions from kids across America as I go.

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First Lady Michelle Obama waves upon her arrival at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo Wednesday, March 18. The First Lady is visiting Japan and Cambodia, who are among Asia’s richest and poorest nations, to highlight cooperation on helping girls finish their educations

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76 Responses to “The First Lady Travels To Japan And Cambodia”


  1. 6 GGail
    March 18, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Okay, who’s playing with me?

    How am I able to land on First so often recently?!!!

  2. 16 JER
    March 18, 2015 at 1:33 pm

  3. 18 GGail
    March 18, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks Chips, I so wanted to see this lovely dress up close and that belt!!

  4. 19 JER
    March 18, 2015 at 1:37 pm

  5. March 18, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Gorgeous photos, Chips, and thank you for sharing the First Lady’s #LetGirlsLearn mission.

    Congrats Gail!!

    Anyone in Mesa – heads up –

  6. 28 Judith Fardig
    March 18, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    The Obamas make us proud (and enlightened) wherever they go in the world.

  7. March 18, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    My class didn’t show up for Storytime. Got pumped for nothing. Sighs. The life of a children’s librarian / acting library manager.

  8. March 18, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Note, substantial number of women ….

  9. March 18, 2015 at 1:46 pm

  10. March 18, 2015 at 1:58 pm

  11. 48 Linda
    March 18, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Both CNN and MSNBC start their 2 PM hour with ” Terror in Tunisia ” instead of ” Terror in Arizona ”

    Priorities ?

  12. March 18, 2015 at 2:03 pm

  13. March 18, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    FLOTUS looks beautiful and it looks like she cut her hair…

    going to follow along on her trip

  14. March 18, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Where is Santorum?

  15. 54 Nerdy Wonka
    March 18, 2015 at 2:07 pm

  16. March 18, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Thank you for this incredible view of our magnificent First Lady on the road for justice, equality, connection and compassion. I love her so much. Thank you for making it easy to follow along with her, and for these lovely moments along the way. I am extra thrilled to see that she will be meeting with Peace Corps volunteers in Cambodia! That Peace Corps is part of the plan to do these great things for our sisters around the the globe. What a blessing she is, and POTUS and daughters and Mrs. Robinson and all their circle. Thank you for The Obama Diary, Chipsticks.

    • 59 Nena20409
      March 18, 2015 at 2:25 pm

      • 60 Nena20409
        March 18, 2015 at 3:06 pm

        • 61 0388jojothecat
          March 18, 2015 at 3:52 pm

          What a stupid statement….”Blacks making progress while whites were still lynching them” compared to the 21st century where Blacks are making less progress (more AA’s I am sure are graduating from college since that time and we have a AA President, AG, head of NASA, Governors, Mayors, etc., etc.,) according to WSJ and are still being lynched/killed by whites (cops).

  17. 62 Nena20409
    March 18, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Congrats GGail on cracking the TOD Furst Code 🙂

    • 63 GGail
      March 18, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      Thanks Nena! I had to stand back and watch how others were so successful. It’s my Turn now 😀 😀

  18. 64 Nena20409
    March 18, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    One of a handful places where FLOTUS and her Trip to Japan and Cambodia will be accurately covered. Thanks Chips.
    The ugly threats to Caroline Kennedy was in Feb. But US News Media will cover that and they will ignore covering FLOTUS as she should be covered.

  19. 66 Nena20409
    March 18, 2015 at 2:22 pm

  20. 67 JER
    March 18, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    • 68 0388jojothecat
      March 18, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      Oops Alabama….looks like churches will marry gays now so poo on your banning civil ceremonies.

  21. 69 Linda
    March 18, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Maybe if we locate Mesa Arizona on a map of Tunisia or Israel our American media will cover it.

  22. 70 JER
    March 18, 2015 at 2:39 pm

  23. 71 Nena20409
    March 18, 2015 at 2:42 pm

  24. 72 JER
    March 18, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Bourbon and tea. Cleveland, Ohio.

    petesouza/28 minutes ago

  25. 74 Nena20409
    March 18, 2015 at 2:48 pm

  26. March 18, 2015 at 3:06 pm

  27. March 18, 2015 at 3:09 pm


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