The White House Blog: Dr. Jill Biden
- Posted byon August 10, 2011 at 3:22 PM EST
Dr. Jill Biden and the US officials who joined her on a trip to a refugee center in Kenya want the American people to understand how severe the crisis caused by a combination of drought, famine and war has become, especially on the most vulnerable population, the children of Somalia.
“It touched my heart,” said Dr. Biden about reading the news and seeing the footage of the spreading humanitarian crisis, “as a mother, I watched these children … saw them starving and thought, we have to do something.” Earlier this week, she traveled to the Dadaab refugee complex in Eastern Kenya, where approximately 420,000 people who have fled war-torn Somalia in search of food, water and shelter, are currently living in a tented city originally built to accommodate 90,000.
Former U.S. Senator Bill Frist, another member of the delegation, says more must be done to help famine victims. "A lot of people don't realize, especially in this environment of what's happening in terms of the economy here and at home, that this is the most acute food security emergency anywhere in the world now and in recent years," he said.
- Posted byon August 9, 2011 at 4:58 PM EST
Ed. Note: Cross-posted from the USAID Impact blog.
Eighty kilometers from Kenya’s border with Somalia, the Dadaab Refugee Complex—already the world’s largest refugee camp—has seen on average 1,500 exhausted and starving men, women and children arrive each day. Fleeing from famine that is now gripping a large portion of southern Somalia largely inaccessible to aid workers, thousands of refugees have walked days—or even weeks—to reach help. The United Nations estimates that over 12.4 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid, including food, water and medical care, across the drought-stricken eastern Horn of Africa.
Yesterday, I arrived in Dadaab with representatives from across the United States Government, including Dr. Jill Biden, Special Assistant to the President Gayle Smith, Senator Bill Frist and Assistant Secretary of State Eric Schwartz. The trip underscored the commitment of the U.S. Government—the single largest donor in the region—to respond to the immediate crisis with life-saving assistance and investments in long-term solutions to hunger. Ultimately, we know that it is smarter and cheaper to invest in food security than face the consequences of famine and food riots.
- Posted byon August 8, 2011 at 10:07 AM EST
Today, Dr. Biden traveled to Kenya where relief operations are underway to help the thousands of refugees affected by the devastating famine in Somalia. Visiting with women and children at the Dadaab Refugee Complex, Dr. Biden – joined by former U.S. Senator Bill Frist, USAID Administrator Raj Shah, Assistant Secretary of State Eric Schwartz, and Special Assistant to the President Gayle Smith– witnessed firsthand the effects of one of worst droughts in 60 years and the resulting famine in Somalia. 29,000 children under the age of five have died in the past three months and more than 12 million people across the Horn of Africa are in urgent need of care. Emergency assistance and investments in long-term development are saving lives and making a difference. Visit www.USAID.gov to learn more and find organizations that are doing life-saving work in the region.
Courtney O'Donnell is Communications Director for Dr. Jill Biden.
- Posted byon July 27, 2011 at 10:53 AM EST
Nothing says summer like a cookout and this past weekend First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden joined military families at the New Hampshire National Guard Headquarters in Concord for just that. Dr. Biden kicked things off by sharing her experience as a military mom:
My son, Beau, is a Captain in the Delaware Army National Guard and he recently spent a year in Iraq, so I know well the challenges that Guard families face when their soldiers are away. And I also know how much it means when communities rally around family members who are managing in their soldier’s absence.
The First Lady and I came here today for a very simple reason: to say thank you to all of you for all of your service. You and your family -- service members around the country and the world inspire us with your strength and your resilience, and that applies especially to the family members of all ages who are here today.
The First Lady and I are working hard through our “Joining Forces” initiative to make sure that every American understands the sacrifices that each of you as family members are making for the security of our nation.
And we hope to inspire more communities around the country to reach out to military families like we are doing tonight in Concord and like I saw in Portsmouth...earlier today.
The First Lady and Dr. Biden have been inspired by traveling the country and seeing how Americans are stepping up to support our military members and their families. That is why they just announced the Joining Forces Community Challenge, which will recognize individuals and groups around the country who are making a difference in the lives of military families. As the First Lady said at the cookout, those who serve and their families represent the very best of America:
All of you are perfect examples of the 9/11 Generation. You’ve gone through unprecedented deployments. You’ve helped to defend our security through a decade of war. And you’ve strengthened our country not just as National Guardsmen and Reservists, but as teachers and as firefighters and businessmen and women, as well.
You represent the very best of America –- a devotion to family, to community, and to country. And I just want to tell you that Jill and I could not be more inspired by all of you.
You all are the reasons why Jill and I have launched this nationwide initiative that we’re calling Joining Forces because we want this entire country to recognize, and honor, and support our military members and their families. We want you to know that this country has your back.
- Posted byon July 25, 2011 at 3:10 PM EST
Yesterday Dr. Jill Biden had the chance to participate in an annual event called “Operation Thank You!” in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Launched in 2004 as a way to thank and honor the military and their families for all of their sacrifice, Operation Thank You! has grown into one of the most successful military appreciation events in New England – raising funds and giving thousands of military families a day of well-deserved fun and recognition.
Dr. Biden spoke to the crowd and met with many of the families in attendance, and she thanked the various sponsors and organizers for doing their part. The event was a great example of the types of action and outreach we are trying to encourage around the country through the Joining Forces initiative. To make Operation Thank You! a success, businesses, nonprofit organizations, religious groups and individuals from the local community stepped up and offered services and support.
- Posted byon July 18, 2011 at 4:25 PM EST
I just returned home from an incredible trip to Germany where I was truly honored to lead the Presidential Delegation to the Women’s World Cup soccer final. While in Frankfurt, we were all thrilled to have the opportunity to meet the team and their families, and to cheer proudly and wave the U.S. flag for our heroes on the field.
As I told the team last night, though the final outcome of the game was not what we had hoped, we left the stadium so proud of this incredible group of women – and I am sure everyone at home feels the same way.
Women's World Cup Final: Dr. Jill Biden & the U.S. Delegation Arrive in Frankfurt to Cheer on Team USAPosted byon July 17, 2011 at 12:03 PM EST
Game Day is here! The day of the Women’s World Cup Final is here, and the U.S. Delegation has arrived in Frankfurt to cheer on Team USA.
The delegation landed in Germany early this morning and had a chance to visit with some of the friends and family members of the team. Ambassador Phil Murphy, Dr. Biden and Chelsea Clinton addressed the group in an atmosphere of growing excitement, pride and anticipation.
Dr. Biden thanked Team USA for honoring our country with their amazing performance – and also noted that the strong foundation for that has been laid by Title IX in the United States. She wished the team good luck from everyone back at the White House and a proud nation back home.
- Posted byon July 5, 2011 at 8:47 AM EST
Watch a video from the Independence Day celebration at the White House. The President and First Lady joined more than 1,200 military heroes and their families for a barbeque, a special USO show featuring Train and Amos Lee, and a viewing of the fireworks over the National Mall.
Watch the celebration, here.
- Posted byon July 1, 2011 at 6:24 PM EST
When my kids think of community service, they think about picking up trash along the road, visiting the animal shelter and collecting food – all of which are good things, but I don’t know that they actually have learned why we do – or should do – community service or understand the importance of community service to the beneficiaries. Now they do.
Together, Girl Scout troop 2255 and Boy Scout troop 888 chose to do a community service learning project that was not only worthy of the time and effort, but also a great deal of fun. The kids chose to do Operation Honor Card and commit community service hours in the name of soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
- Posted byon July 1, 2011 at 2:29 PM EST
This Independence Day, you can join First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden in supporting our troops, military families, and veterans by getting involved with Joining Forces.
Here’s a few things you can do right now:
- Operation Honor Card. You can get involved right now through Operation Honor Card – an effort to encourage Americans to support our military families by participating in service projects to serve those who serve us. At HonorCards.org, you can pledge hours of community service, find service projects in your area, and track your progress.
- Send a Message of Thanks. A simple act of kindness can mean so much. Say thanks to a military family today.
- Share Your Story of Support. How are you serving our nation’s military families? Tell us your story.
- Stay Connected. There are plenty of ways to stay connected with Joining Forces. You can sign up for email updates, like Joining Forces on Facebook, or follow @JoiningForces on Twitter.