President Barack Obama addresses the National Clean Energy Summit at the Mandalay Bay Resort Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The White House expanded its push for greater renewable energy adoption, announcing fresh financial incentives for solar panels, smart grid technology and other alternative energies for homeowners and builders
President Barack Obama participates in a town hall-style question-and-answer session with participants from the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Mandela Washington Fellowship Presidential Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. Identified as Sub-Saharan Africa’s ‘most promising young leaders,’ 500 people were invited by the U.S. State Department for the three-day summit where they interact with representatives from the public, private, and non-profit sectors
Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Mandela Washington Fellowship participants sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama embraces Nigerian disability-rights activist and musician Grace Alache Jerry
President Barack Obama speaks about climate change during an event in the East Room at the White House. President Obama announced a major climate change plan aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s coal-burning power plants
President Barack Obama smiles as he arrives to deliver a speech at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at the United Nations Compound in Nairobi. President Obama’s visit to Kenya is focused on trade and economic issues, as well as security and counterterrorism cooperation
President Barack Obama and Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta take part in a roundtable with young businesspeople at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. He told African entrepreneurs in Kenya on Saturday they could help counter violent ideologies and drive growth in Africa, and said governments had to help by ensuring the rule of law was upheld and by tackling corruption
First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a discussion on higher education in the East Room of the White House. The First Lady hosted the 2015 Beating the Odds Summit to recognize youths who have overcome substantial obstacles to persist through high school and make it to college, as part of the “Reach Higher” initiative
Michelle Obama is nothing if not gracious. Since moving to the White House in 2009 following her husband Barack Obama’s presidential election win in 2008, the Chicago native has used her mantle as the First Lady to fight for military families, children’s health and young people’s pursuit of education. Her charm, intellect and warm personality have created a collaborative environment where politics are left at the door and people connect to get things done.
Do you find yourself being more ambitious about your designs to help young people now more than any other point in your life, and why?
I’ve always said that the role of First Lady comes with this big bright light that follows you wherever you go, and you have the privilege—and the responsibility—to shine that light on important issues and tell the stories that too often go untold. So I do find myself being especially ambitious right now, especially because so many of the issues I work on are deeply personal to me.
"I wouldn't be where I am today without education." —The First Lady to students who are beating the odds to go to college #ReachHigher
A perfect example is my Reach Higher initiative, an effort to inspire young people to continue their education past high school. My parents didn’t have college degrees, and while they loved and supported me, they really couldn’t help me with things like standardized tests and financial aid forms. So I often had to figure stuff out on my own, and I didn’t always get it right (I actually applied to one college simply because I liked the pictures in the brochure). And today, I have a chance to reach back and help young people struggling with these exact same challenges, and I intend to use my time as First Lady and beyond to do everything I can to empower them so they can fulfill their dreams.