The White House Blog: The First Lady

  • The First Lady: We've Made "Tremendous Progress" in Educating the World’s Young Women, but There's More Work to Do

    First Lady Michelle Obama delivers the special keynote address at the United Nations' Global Education First Initiative's high-level event at the U.N. Headquarters

    First Lady Michelle Obama delivers the special keynote address at the United Nations' Global Education First Initiative's high-level event at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, N.Y., Sept. 24, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    Every young woman on our planet should have the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive. That was the message delivered earlier today by First Lady Michelle Obama at the U.N. Global Education First Initiative in New York City. The initiative brings together heads of state and government, leading international advocates, and U.N. principals to focus on the importance of a quality education as a way to build a more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable world.

    The First Lady noted that we’ve made significant progress in achieving the goal of educating all young women, particularly in primary education. As of 2012, every developing region in the world has achieved, or was close to achieving, gender parity in primary education.

    But despite this accomplishment, the First Lady said that we shouldn’t be satisfied:


  • The First Lady Passes 1 Million Followers on Twitter and Instagram

    After just over a year on Twitter and Instagram, First Lady Michelle Obama's social media accounts both passed 1 million followers this summer!

    The First Lady uses Twitter and Instagram to connect with people around the country and keep her followers up-to-date on the latest news from her initiatives, Joining Forces, Let's Move, and Reach Higher. From participating in a Google+ Hangout during her trip to Africa to her Twitter Q&A #LunchWithFlotus on healthy school lunches, the First Lady is continually looking for new ways to connect with the public and answer their questions. 

    To celebrate passing 1 million followers, we’ve put together a list of highlights from @FLOTUS and @MichelleObama.

    Have a favorite moment of your own or ideas about new ways the First Lady could use social media? We want to hear from you! Let us know by tweeting at @FLOTUS or gramming at @MichelleObama. We’ll feature some of our favorite responses. And, don't forget to check out her board on Pinterest.

    Here's a look back at some of our top social media moments from the First Lady.


  • First Lady Highlights College Signing Day in Latest Upworthy Post

    Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama joined the site Upworthy as a guest curator to share content to inspire young people to reach higher and take charge of their future. Her first post highlighted inspiring stories from first-generation students at Kansas State University who have overcome challenges, and in her latest post she shares a powerful video of a College Signing Day assembly in San Antonio.

    College Signing Day is special event to honor students who have committed to continue their education beyond high school. In May, the First Lady joined more than 2,000 San Antonio high school seniors for the community-wide event:

    The fact is, a generation ago our country had the highest percentage of college graduates in the world. But today, we have dropped all the way to 12th. And that’s unacceptable. That’s not who we are. And all of you have a role to play to help get us get back on top, because the education you get today won’t just help you compete; it’s going to help our entire country compete in a global economy. 


  • Honoring 9/11 Through Service

    President Obama Greets Volunteers on September 11, 2013

    President Barack Obama greets volunteers at Food & Friends during a service project to commemorate the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance, in Washington, D.C. September 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today, millions of people across the country will commemorate the anniversary of 9/11 through acts of service. To honor the memories of those we lost, we come together to make our communities better and our world a brighter place through acts of volunteerism.


  • "We Will Only Grow Stronger": President Obama Commemorates the 13th Anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks

    President Obama, Defense Secretary Hagel, and Gen. Martin Dempsey listen to the national anthem, Sept. 11, 2014

    President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, listen to the national anthem during the September 11th Observance Ceremony at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Va., Sept. 11, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Thirteen years ago today, our nation was irrevocably changed by horrific acts of terror that took the lives of thousands of innocent people. Across the country, Americans pay tribute to their memories and honor all those who have made great sacrifices in service to our country. 

    At 8:46 a.m. ET this morning, the time that the first plane hit the World Trade Center, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden joined Americans in observing a moment of silence:


  • The First Lady Holds Prep Rally to Encourage Higher Ed Preparation

    Students at Booker T. Washington High School Listen to First Lady Michelle Obama

    Students at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta listen to First Lady Michelle Obama speak on preparing for higher education. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Education by Joshua Hoover.

    First Lady Michelle Obama was at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, Ga., yesterday, to help kick off the Department of Education’s annual back-to-school bus tour, and to encourage students to take charge of their futures and complete an education beyond high school as part of her Reach Higher initiative.

    Booker T. Washington High School opened its doors in 1924 and was the first public high school for African-Americans in Georgia. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is among the school’s graduates. The First Lady began her visit by joining Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for a quick stop at a college fair, and to listen to students talk about their experience in searching out schools and getting help from their counselors.


  • The First Lady Joins Upworthy as a Guest Curator

    Today, we’re excited to announce that First Lady Michelle Obama is joining the site Upworthy as a guest curator. As part of her Reach Higher initiative, the First Lady will share videos and other content to inspire America's young people to take charge of their future. Mrs. Obama kicks off the series as she hits the road with Secretary Duncan on his annual Back to School Bus Tour, beginning at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta.

    In her first Upworthy post, the First Lady highlights inspiring stories from first-generation students at Kansas State University who have overcome challenges. “Neither of my parents graduated from college, so when I got to campus as a freshman, I'll admit I was a little overwhelmed,” the First Lady writes. “It's up to all of us to make sure we're helping our young people reach higher and take charge of their futures.”

    Check out the First Lady’s post on Upworthy, or below.


    I Really Hope The Parents Of These People Get To See What They Said Here. They'd Probably Cry.

    Neither of my parents graduated from college, so when I got to campus as a freshman, I'll admit I was a little overwhelmed. I didn’t know anyone on campus except my brother. I didn’t know how to pick the right classes or find the right buildings. I didn’t even bring the right size sheets for my dorm room bed.


  • 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.