The White House Blog: The First Lady

  • President Obama Engages with African Leaders on Final Day of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the “Investing in Africa’s Future” session during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the “Investing in Africa’s Future” session during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    President Obama and African leaders took part in three action-oriented sessions today as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C. The summit is the largest event any U.S. president has held with African heads of state and government, and builds on President Obama's trip to Africa last summer.

    In remarks at this morning's opening session, the President explained the purpose of the event and noted the progress across the African continent -- and what that means for America:

    We come together this week because, even as the continent faces significant challenges, as I said last night, I believe a new Africa is emerging.  With some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, a growing middle class, and the youngest and fastest-growing population on Earth, Africa will help shape the world as never before.

    Moreover, Africa’s progress is being led by Africans, including leaders represented here today.  More governments are embracing economic reforms, attracting record levels of investment.  Gains in development, increasing agricultural production, declining rates in infectious diseases are being driven by African plans.  African security forces and African peacekeepers are risking their lives to meet regional threats.  A new generation of young Africans is making its voice heard.  

    Africa’s rise means opportunity for all of us -- including the opportunity to transform the relationship between the United States and Africa.  As I said in Cape Town last year, it’s time for a new model of partnership between America and Africa -- a partnership of equals that focuses on African capacity to solve problems, and on Africa’s capacity to grow.  And that’s why we’re here.


  • The First Lady: Veteran Homelessness Is a “Stain on the Soul of This Nation”

    The First Lady addresses the 2014 National Conference on Ending Homelessness

    First Lady Michelle Obama, in support of the Joining Forces initiative, addresses the 2014 National Conference on Ending Homelessness, in Washington, D.C., July 31, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    They risked their lives for our country, yet each night tens of thousands of veterans are sleeping in shelters, in their car, or on the street. Across the country, there are more than 58,000 homeless veterans, a staggering number that First Lady Michelle Obama called “a stain on the soul of this nation,” during a speech yesterday at the National Alliance to End Homelessness Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

    "But as Americans, the idea that anyone who has worn our country’s uniform spends their nights sleeping on the ground should horrify us." 

    And so it is truly our duty to right this wrong and put an end to veteran homelessness, once and for all. 

    But that moral and patriotic duty is only part of the reason why ending veteran homelessness is so critical. As we all know, ending homelessness for our veterans can also be a crucial first step -- a proof point -- to show that we can end homelessness for everyone in this country, too.


  • President Obama Awards the 2013 National Medals of Arts and Humanities

    Watch on YouTube

    This afternoon, the President and the First Lady honored the 2013 National Medals of the Arts and Humanities recipients at the White House. The President told the recipients that their "accomplishments enrich our lives and reveal something about ourselves and our country."

    This year's recipients consisted of a diverse array of indidivuals and groups who have done groundbreaking work in the arts and humanities, including architecture, choreography, East Asian Studies, and documentary filmmaking – all of whom have made significant contributions to the human experience.


  • Watch Live: Summit of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

    Today, President Obama kicks off a three-day Summit of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the flagship program of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The Washington Fellowship gives 500 of sub-Saharan Africa’s most prominent young leaders the opportunity to engage with U.S. government officials, entrepreneurs and civil society representatives, as well as leaders in international development.

    Watch President Obama's town hall -- and tune in for events throughout the week with First Lady Michelle Obama, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, and more.


  • West Wing Week 07/25/14 or, "The Irrefutable Rightness of Your Cause"

    This week, the President introduced a historic Executive Action for LGBT rights, continued to address the ongoing conflicts in the Ukraine and Gaza, hosted a town hall in support of his My Brother's Keeper Initiative, and traveled to California to deliver his response to some very striking letters he'd received ... in person. 

    Watch on YouTube


  • The Top 5 Best Moments from the 2014 Kids’ State Dinner

    Ed. note. This is cross-posted from the Let's Move blog. See the original post here.

    Today, the First Lady welcomed fifty-four young chefs from all over the country to the State Dining Room for the 2014 Kids’ State Dinner. These 54 kids were selected from more than 1,500 recipes that were submitted for the Epicurious Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. From the décor to the talent, food, and big smiles, the White House was bustling with our next generation of kids encouraging healthy habits.

    The kids heard from the First Lady, tasted delicious meals, and enjoyed live entertainment all before taking a stroll to the White House Kitchen Garden. There were so many amazing moments from this year’s Kids State Dinner but here’s a “taste” of some of our favorites:

    1. Enjoying the Healthy Lunches

    From Black Bean Burgers to Smoky Southwestern Vegetable Dip, the lunch cooked up by White House chefs of the winning recipes was healthy and scrumptious! Make sure to check out how to cook up these great recipes in your own kitchen at home!

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  • What You Might Have Missed This Week:

    This week, President Obama addressed the crash of Flight MH17, talked about investing in our country's infrastructure, and continued to take important steps to respond to a changing climate -- and the First Lady hosted the Kids' State Dinner, featuring 54 delicious recipes from around the country.

    Check out what else you may have missed in this week's wrap up.


    President Obama on the Crash of Flight MH17

    Today, President Obama delivered a statement to the press in the wake of the tragic crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17:

    Yesterday, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 took off from Amsterdam and was shot down over Ukraine near the Russian border. Nearly 300 innocent lives were taken -- men, women, children, infants -- who had nothing to do with the crisis in Ukraine. Their deaths are an outrage of unspeakable proportions.

    Watch on YouTube

    President Obama noted that this was "a global tragedy -- an Asian airliner was destroyed in European skies, filled with citizens from many countries." And as a result, there now needs to be a credible, international investigation into exactly what happened.


  • Tune In: Watch the Kids' State Dinner Live!

    This morning at 11:25 a.m. ET, we'll be streaming the 2014 Kids' State Dinner live from the White House.

    And you can watch it all right here.

    More than 1,500 entries were submitted this year, featuring wholesome and tasty ingredients such as squash, ground turkey, salmon, and kale. Watch the winning recipes being selected for the 2014 Kids' State Dinner below -- and tune in to the Kids' State Dinner live today at 11:25 a.m. ET.

    Watch on YouTube


  • The First Lady Attends the Unite for Veterans Summit

    First Lady Michelle Obama talks with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti

    First Lady Michelle Obama talks with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti backstage before the Veterans Homelessness event in Los Angeles, Calif., July 16, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    Today, First Lady Michelle Obama delivered the keynote speech during the Unite for Veterans Summit in Los Angeles. The summit, which gathered local officials, service providers, researchers, and funders, identified best practices in housing and employment for veterans and their families, and was a shining example of community collaboration.

    The event — co-hosted by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the University of Southern California, and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco — gave Los Angeles community leaders an opportunity to learn about the issues impacting veterans and their families, and to accept the challenge of addressing and ending them. As one formerly homeless veteran noted, "We are here to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes.”


  • Tune In: The First Lady Speaks at the Unite for Veterans Summit

    Ed. note: This live event has concluded.

    Today at 2:15 p.m. ET, First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver the keynote address at the Unite for Veterans Summit in Los Angeles, an event hosted by United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the Federal Reserve Bank, and the University of Southern California. 

    As part of the Joining Forces Initiative, the First Lady is teaming up with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to highlight the importance of aiding veterans as they transition into the next phase of their lives. Mayor Garcetti has joined the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by the end of 2015.

    Watch the First Lady's remarks right here starting at 2:15 p.m. ET:

    Watch on YouTube