Posts Tagged ‘First

21
Mar
15

Rise and Shine: The First Lady in Cambodia

First Lady Michelle Obama visiting a school in Siem Reap province, Cambodia

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VOA: Michelle Obama Meets With Cambodian Students

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama is in Cambodia where she spoke Saturday at a Peace Corps training event in the city of Siem Reap, home to Cambodia’s famed Angkor Wat temple complex. The visit is part of a two-nation trip meant to highlight a new global women’s education initiative.

Obama thanked the Peace Corps volunteers for the work that they are doing to educate and empower girls in Cambodia.  She called the volunteers the “living, breathing” embodiment of what her program, “Let Girls Learn,” is all about.

Earlier in the day, Obama met with a group of girls at a school on the outskirts of the city.

Accompanied by Bun Rany, the wife of Cambodia’s prime minister Hun Sen, Obama told the schoolgirls to stay in school and take advantage of their education to demand greater freedoms in their impoverished country.

“Let girls learn’ is about giving girls like you here, all the girls who are here, giving you a voice in your communities and in your country,” she said.

The trip is the first time that the wife of a sitting U.S. president has visited the Southeast Asian country.

More here

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First Lady Michelle Obama and Bun Rany, the first lady of Cambodia, arrive to meet with students at a high school on the outskirts of Siem Reap, Cambodia

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Continue reading ‘Rise and Shine: The First Lady in Cambodia’

20
Mar
15

Rise and Shine: The First Lady in Japan

First Lady Michelle Obama hugs Manaka Hirose after playing the Taiko with the Akutagawa high school Taiko (Japanese traditional drum) Club at the Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto

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Today (all times Eastern)

12:0: White House Press Briefing

2:25: The President hosts the Second-Annual White House Student Film Festival; East Room

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@FLOTUS: Flying over Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, on the way to Kyoto.

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AP: First Lady gets taste of Japan’s ancient culture in Kyoto

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama was treated to a serene classical Noh performance and then tried the taiko drums as she ended her visit to Japan on Friday with a taste of traditional culture in Kyoto, one of the country’s ancient capitals.

Mrs Obama viewed the Noh performance at Kiyomizu-dera, a Buddhist temple founded in 780 that is one of the most famous sights in Japan, sitting on a forested hill overlooking the city.

Local college students in kimono performed a brief piece of Noh, a classical Japanese musical drama that usually employs elaborate costumes and stylized masks to symbolize roles of women, ghosts and other characters.

While at Kiyomizu-dera, a UNESCO World Heritage site, whose name means “clear water,” Mrs. Obama observed a traditional tea ceremony. She then traveled across town to the 1,300-year-old Fushimi Inari shrine, a place of worship for Japan’s other major religion, Shinto….

There she watched a rousing performance by the award-winning Akutagawa High School Taiko Club, who drummed, jumped and gesticulated with all their might…. The students then invited Mrs. Obama to join them, and performed a number as she and a student drummed on a big, round taiko drum.

Soon after, Mrs Obama left Japan, one of Asia’s richest nations, for Cambodia, one of Asia’s poorest.

More here

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@FLOTUS: Taking in a beautiful view of Kyoto from the Kiyomizu-dera Buddhist Temple with Ambassador @CarolineKennedy

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First Lady Michelle Obama & Jack Schlossberg, son of Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, visit the Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto

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First Lady Michelle Obama, US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, Kennedy’s son John Schlossberg and Buddhist monk Eigen Onishi watch a Noh performance, a form of classical Japanese musical drama, on the main temple stage as they visit at Kiyomizu-dera Buddhist temple in Kyoto, western Japan

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First Lady Michelle Obama watches a student perform a Noh play during a visit to the Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto

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@FLOTUS: Japanese tea for two

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First Lady Michelle Obama hugs Manaka Hirose after playing the Taiko with the Akutagawa high school Taiko

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The First Lady waves goodbye on leaving Haneda International in Tokyo before flying on to Cambodia

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First Lady Michelle Obama arrives at Siem Reap International Airport, Cambodia

19
Mar
15

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama walks with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff following the arrival of First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Sasha and Malia, at the Palacio do Alvorada in Brasilia, Brazil, March 19, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern)

11:15: The President attends an event at the Department of Energy

12:0: White House Press Briefing

2:05: The President meets with Charlie and Camilla Windsor of England

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The First Lady in Japan

@FLOTUS: Say cheese! All smiles with kids at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo

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First Lady Michelle Obama meets with Akie Abe, wife of Japanese PM

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First Lady, US Ambassador Caroline Kennedy & Akie Abe, wife of Japanese PM, at a Joint Girls Education Event in Tokyo

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First Lady Michelle Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe share a chuckle

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On This Day

Senator Barack Obama at the 36th Annual NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles, March 19, 2005

President Obama practices his golf swing at an outdoor hold prior to an event at the Miguel Contreras Learning Center in Los Angeles, Calif., March 19, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama talks with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and L.A. Mayor Antonio Ramon Villaraigosa prior to an event at the Miguel Contreras Learning Center in Los Angeles, Calif., March 19, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama gestures while speaking at the Miguel Contreras Learning Center in Los Angeles, Calif., March 19, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama shares a moment with Jay Leno off set of the Tonight Show at NBC Studios, Burbank, Calif., March 19, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama talks to a Member of Congress while en route to George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., to deliver remarks on health insurance reform, March 19, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama speaks on health insurance reform at George Mason University’s Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia on March 19, 2010

President Obama calls a Member of Congress to discuss health care reform in the Oval Office, March 19, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama calls a Member of Congress about health care reform from the Oval Office, March 19, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Arriving at Brasilia Air Base, Brazil, March 19, 2011

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President Obama talks on the phone with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office, March 19, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

First Lady Michelle Obama is interviewed during a taping of the “Late Show with David Letterman” at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, N.Y., March 19, 2012 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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President Obama speaks during a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the Oval Office of the White House, March 19, 2013

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MoooOOOooorning!

18
Mar
15

The First Lady Travels To Japan And Cambodia

Instagram

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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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13
Mar
15

The President and the Sergeant: Six Years, Six Meetings

Today: President Obama greets Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg, alongside his father Craig, during a visit to Remsburg’s new home in Gilbert, Arizona (Photo by Doug Mills)

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Washington Post (2013): They were introduced near Omaha Beach in France in 2009, when Sergeant Remsburg was part of a select Army Ranger group chosen to re-enact a parachute drop for celebrations of the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings in World War II.

Four months later, on Oct. 1 2009, Sergeant Remsburg was face down in a canal near Kandahar, thrown by the force of a quarter-ton roadside bomb, shrapnel penetrating his brain and right eye. He spent the next three months in a coma, through operations at military hospitals in Afghanistan, Germany and Bethesda, Md., outside Washington. Through the winter of 2010, he was at a veterans’ hospital in Tampa, Fla., where he slowly regained consciousness. In April 2010, he returned to Bethesda for surgery to rebuild his skull.

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Their second meeting came less than a year later at a military hospital outside Washington, where Mr. Obama was stunned to see among the wounded troops from Afghanistan a familiar young man — now brain-damaged, a track of fresh stitches across his skull, and partly paralyzed…..

…. the President came for his annual physical and to visit patients. Entering a hospital room, he saw a photo on the wall — of himself and Sergeant Remsburg in Normandy — and did a double take, looking at the broken man lying there, and again at the strapping soldier in the frame.

“Cory still couldn’t speak, but he looked me in the eye,” the president said later. “He lifted his arm, and he shook my hand firmly. And when I asked how he was feeling, he held up his hand, pulled his fingers together and gave a thumbs up.”

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The third meeting was in a private visit in Phoenix, where Sergeant Remsburg did something that neither Mr. Obama nor military doctors would once have predicted: he stood up and saluted his commander in chief.

There was more. Grasping his walker, “Cory took a step, then another, and then another,” Mr. Obama said later, “all the way across the room.”

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In 2014, Sgt Remsburg was a guest of the President at the State of the Union

“I first met Cory Remsburg, a proud Army Ranger, at Omaha Beach on the 65th anniversary of D-Day. Along with some of his fellow Rangers, he walked me through the program – a strong, impressive young man, with an easy manner, sharp as a tack. We joked around, and took pictures, and I told him to stay in touch.

A few months later, on his tenth deployment, Cory was nearly killed by a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan. His comrades found him in a canal, face down, underwater, shrapnel in his brain.

For months, he lay in a coma. The next time I met him, in the hospital, he couldn’t speak; he could barely move. Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, and hours of grueling rehab every day.

Even now, Cory is still blind in one eye.  He still struggles on his left side.  But slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the community around him, Cory has grown stronger. Day by day, he’s learned to speak again and stand again and walk again – and he’s working toward the day when he can serve his country again.

“My recovery has not been easy,” he says. “Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.”

Cory is here tonight.  And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit.”

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Army Ranger Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg is applauded by his father Craig Remsburg, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during President Obama’s remarks at the 70th French-American Commemoration D-Day Ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, June 6, 2014 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today

AZCentral: An ongoing physical recovery, a new home custom-made for his needs – the only other thing that would really make Cory Remsburg’s day was a visit from the president.

That’s just what happened Friday afternoon … which brought the sixth meeting between the former soldier and the commander-in-chief.

After a visit to Phoenix’s VA hospital, President Obama’s motorcade took an unscheduled detour, heading toward Gilbert and pulling up in front of Remsburg’s newly remodeled home.

… As the motorcade pulled out of Gilbert, Remsburg said the visit was “Completely unexpected,” and “very cool.”

“I’m just a sergeant first class,” he said. “I’m no big deal. He’s the commander-in-chief. He’s a very big deal.”

More here

The home came to Remsburg from Homes for Wounded Warriors, the charity started by NFL player Jared Allen. The organization aims to remodel homes for the most severely disabled veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. (More here)

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President Obama visits with Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg and family members at his newly finished home in Gilbert, Arizona, March 13, 2015 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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