The White House Blog: The First Lady

  • Spring Has Sprung: The Sixth-Annual White House Garden Planting

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

    Yesterday, the First Lady welcomed local students and FoodCorps leaders on the South Lawn for the sixth-annual planting of the White House Kitchen Garden. The garden was first planted in 2009 to commence a nationwide conversation on healthy eating and inspired the First Lady to launch Let’s Move!

    At this year’s planting, the First Lady hosted the founders of FoodCorps, a program dedicated to teaching our nation’s children about healthy food while ensuring they have access to it during the school day. This fall, FoodCorps members will serve D.C.-area schools including Cleveland Elementary School, Friendship Public Charter School, and Kimball Elementary School — and students from these schools accompanied FoodCorps at the garden planting. In addition, students from Bancroft Elementary School and Harriet Tubman Elementary School who have participated in previous White House Garden events also attended this year’s planting.


  • Weekly Wrap Up: FLOTUS and POTUS and Pandas, Oh My!

    This week, the First Lady wrapped up her visit to China -- of course, pandas were involved -- while the President started a week-long trip to Europe and Saudi Arabia. And the Vice President gave seven reasons why you should get covered before open enrollment ends on March 31. Check out what else you may have missed in this week's wrap up.


    FLOTUS Shows Us How She Moves in China

    While touring Xi'an, China, First Lady Michelle Obama was greeted by local kids and students performing music, double-dutch jump roping, flying kites, and more. Of course, the First Lady couldn't resist getting in on the fun and showing the kids how she moves. 


  • In Case You Missed It: The First Lady's Trip to China

    First Lady Michelle Obama just returned from a week-long visit to China that focused on the power and importance of education. Throughout the visit, the First Lady posed a daily travel blog, complete with video and photos, and along the way answered questions from kids across America.

    It has been a tremendous honor for me, my daughters and my mother to experience this fascinating country over this past week. I've especially enjoyed speaking with young people in China, learning about their hopes and dreams, and sharing your stories with them and their stories with all of you.

    In Beijing, Xi'an, and Chengdu, the First Lady met with young people to hear about their challenges, hopes, and dreams. Mrs. Obama tried her hand at calligraphy during a school visit with First Lady Peng and met with President Xi. At Peking University, Mrs. Obama spoke to students about the value of study abroad and the importance of free speech. She shared her personal story with young people at the Chengdu No. 7 High School, highlighting the value of education in her own life. And the First Lady, along with her daughters and mother, took in the ancient wonders that China has to offer -- including the Great WallForbidden CityTerra Cotta Warriors, and the Summer Palace -- and had a chance to see the Chengdu Panda Base.

    See the highlights from Mrs. Obama's visit below, or over at Storify.


  • The First Lady's Travel Journal: A Taste of Tibetan Culture

    Note: This post is part of a series authored by First Lady Michelle Obama to share her visit to China with young people in the U.S. You can read all of the First Lady's posts at WhiteHouse.gov/First-Lady-China-Trip.

    The First Lady is greeted by Tibetan students

    First Lady Michelle Obama, Sasha, Malia and Mrs. Robinson are greeted by Tibetan students at the Zangxiang Village Tea House in Chengdu, China. March 26, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    Chengdu is sometimes known as the “Gateway to Tibet" because it is located just a few hours from the towering mountains and rich culture of Tibet, which is a region of China.  There are roughly 6.5 million Tibetans in China, and they are one of the largest and most well-known minority groups in the country.

    For centuries, Tibet was largely unknown to the outside world -- but today, Tibetan Buddhism (the main religion in this area) and its spiritual leader in exile, the Dalai Lama, are known across the globe for their teachings on compassion, forgiveness and tolerance.  Tibet is also known for its beautiful, majestic landscapes.  Some of the world’s tallest mountains are located there – if you want to scale Mount Everest, you can start from a base camp in Tibet. 


  • The First Lady’s Travel Journal: Pandas!

    First Lady Michelle Obama, Sasha, Malia and Mrs. Robinson feed apples to Giant Pandas during their visit to Chengdu Panda Base

    First Lady Michelle Obama, Sasha, Malia and Mrs. Robinson feed apples to Giant Pandas during their visit to Chengdu Panda Base in Chengdu, China on March 26, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    Note: This post is part of a series authored by First Lady Michelle Obama to share her visit to China with young people in the U.S. You can read all of the First Lady's posts at WhiteHouse.gov/First-Lady-China-Trip.


  • The First Lady's Travel Journal: Visiting the No. 7 School in Chengdu

    Note: This post is part of a series authored by First Lady Michelle Obama to share her visit to China with young people in the U.S. You can read all of the First Lady's posts at WhiteHouse.gov/First-Lady-China-Trip.

    First Lady Michelle Obama talks with students in an interactive classroom at Number 7 School in Chengdu

    First Lady Michelle Obama talks with students in an interactive classroom at Number 7 School in Chengdu, China. March 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    Today, I had the pleasure of visiting the No. 7 School here in Chengdu, an extraordinary high school that uses the power of technology to bring educational opportunities to students across southwest China.

    More than 5,000 high school students attend the No. 7 School in person each day – and 42,000 more high school students from 182 schools in smaller cities and rural areas attend remotely.  Classrooms here in Chengdu are equipped with large screens – and students from across the region can beam in and take part in the same lessons (and they even get assigned the same homework too).  Many of the students who attend classes remotely are from disadvantaged backgrounds, and the education they get at the No. 7 school gives them a better chance of possibly being accepted into college.


  • The First Lady's Travel Journal: Visiting the Xi'an City Wall

    Note: This post is part of a series authored by First Lady Michelle Obama to share her visit to China with young people in the U.S. You can read all of the First Lady's posts at WhiteHouse.gov/First-Lady-China-Trip.

    First Lady Michelle Obama jumps rope on her visit to the Xi'an City Wall with Sasha, Malia and Marian Robinson in Xi'an, China

    First Lady Michelle Obama jumps rope on her visit to the Xi'an City Wall with Sasha, Malia and Marian Robinson in Xi'an, China on March 24, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    After seeing the Terra Cotta Warriors outside of Xi’an, we returned to the city to view the Xi’an City Wall.

    The Xi’an City Wall is the oldest and largest surviving wall of its kind in China.  It’s a 40-foot tall rectangle that stretches for 8.5 miles.  At its base, the Wall is 50 or 60 feet wide.  At the top, it’s about 40 feet wide – wide enough for Xi’an residents and tourists to run, walk, or ride a bike around (it takes about four hours to walk the entire distance at a leisurely pace).  From the wall you can see the ancient Bell Tower, a beautiful building which marks the center of the ancient city.

    Xi’an was once China’s capital city, and even after the capital was relocated, the city remained an important military stronghold for centuries.  Just like the Great Wall, the Xi’an City Wall was originally built for defense, with watchtowers and even a deep moat and drawbridges.  Parts of the wall date back to the seventh century, and the wall we know today was completed in the 14th century.  Since then, it has been refurbished three times – roughly once every two hundred years – in the late 1500s, the late 1700s and, most recently, in 1983.


  • The First Lady's Travel Journal: Seeing the Terra Cotta Warriors in X'ian

    Note: This post is part of a series authored by First Lady Michelle Obama to share her visit to China with young people in the U.S. You can read all of the First Lady's posts at WhiteHouse.gov/First-Lady-China-Trip.

    First Lady Michelle Obama, Sasha, Malia and Marian Robinson are greeted upon arrival to Xi'an, China

    First Lady Michelle Obama, Sasha, Malia and Marian Robinson are greeted upon arrival to Xi'an, China on March 24, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    This morning we left Beijing and flew for about two hours to Xi’an, a city of more than 7 million people in central China.  If Xi’an were in America, it would be the second-largest city in the country – trailing only New York City – but in China, a nation of more than 1 billion people, Xi’an isn’t even in the top ten.


  • The First Lady's Travel Journal: Visiting The Great Wall Of China

    Note: This post is part of a series authored by First Lady Michelle Obama to share her visit to China with young people in the U.S. You can read all of the First Lady's posts at WhiteHouse.gov/First-Lady-China-Trip.

    The First Lady and Daughters at the Great Wall

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Malia and Sasha visit the Great Wall of China. March 22, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    Today we drove about an hour north of Beijing to a village called Mutianyu to visit a section of the Great Wall of China, which was simply breathtaking. The scenery on the way there was beautiful – a wide vista of mountains and trees – so the car ride alone was a treat.  But then, running along the highest ridges of the mountains, you see it: The Great Wall – one of the great marvels of human history.


  • The First Lady's Travel Journal: Why I'm Passionate About Education

    Note: This post is part of a series authored by First Lady Michelle Obama to share her visit to China with young people in the U.S. You can read all of the First Lady's posts at WhiteHouse.gov/First-Lady-China-Trip.

     

    First Lady Michelle Obama at an Education Roundtable in Beijing

    First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a roundtable discussion with educators, parents and students at the US Embassy in Beijing, China. March 23, 2014. (by Amanda Lucidon)

    Today, I met with a group of educators, parents and students who care deeply about education in China. This is an issue of great importance to me as First Lady -- that's why I've been working to inspire young people in America to pursue their education beyond high school, whether that's at a two-year college, a four-year college, or through an apprenticeship or another kind of job training. 

    I'm not just passionate about education in my role as First Lady -- this issue is also very personal for me. Growing up, my family didn't have much money, and my parents never attended college. However, like so many parents here in China who care so deeply about educating their kids, my parents were determined to send me and my brother to college. I studied as hard as I could, and with the help of scholarships and student loans, I was able to attend Princeton University and Harvard Law School. The degrees I got from those schools allowed me to get a job as a lawyer at a big law firm, and then as an executive at a hospital, and then as the director of a program that prepared young people for careers in public service.