The White House

Office of the First Lady

Remarks by the First Lady and Ambassador Baucus Before Roundtable with Chinese Educators, Parents and Students

American Embassy Beijing, China

10:09 A.M. CST

 AMBASSADOR BAUCUS:  Zăoshàng hăo.  We’re very honored that all of you are here.  And it’s most appropriate that we’re -- talked about education -- and, more specifically, how we can help each other get that -- of educating each other, helping each other and learning from each other’s country, and how we can work better together.

  I’m going to be very brief.  I just wanted to tell you how excited I am that Michelle Obama is here; second, the subject is just -- it’s education.  It’s kids, because the kids are our future. 

 I believe that all of us have a moral obligation who are on this place -- on this planet -- we’re not here very long.  We leave it, and we leave it in as good a shape or better shape than we found it.  That means our children and our grandchildren -- leave it in as good a shape, a better shape than we found it for our kids and for our grandkids.  And education is a key way to help accomplish that objective. 

 So I just wanted to tell you how happy we are that we’re here together.  And thank you, Mrs. Obama, for being here.

MRS. OBAMA:  Oh, thank you.  Thank you, Ambassador Baucus.  I’m not going to talk long either. 

 I have had a wonderful first few days here in Beijing.  And, as the Ambassador said, one of the reasons I have come to China is to learn more about education around the world.  Education is an important focus for me.  It’s personal, because I wouldn’t be where I am today without my parents investing and pushing me to get a good education.

And my parents were not educated themselves, but one of the things they understood was that my brother and I needed that foundation.  So the President and I have made education a key focus of our work over the coming years because we want to make sure that as many young people in the United States and around the world, quite frankly, have access to education.

 So I’ve had a chance to visit a high school with Madame Peng here in Beijing and talked to some of the high school students there.  Yesterday, I had an amazing conversation with a group of students at Peking University yesterday, along with students at Stanford because through the Internet, we were able to have a joint conversation.  In a couple of days, I’m going to travel to Chengdu, and I’m going to be able to speak with more high school students there, really to see another region of the country and to speak to the students there, as well.  So I’m very excited.

But today, I am grateful to all of you, first of all, for taking the time on a Sunday -- (laughter) -- to be here with me, and for your willingness to share your stories and your experiences.  Because one of the things we say, it’s really by sharing our stories with each other that those bonds of connection really grow. 

 So I’m here to learn and to listen, although anything you want to ask me, of course, I’m more than willing to share.  

 END                 10:13 A.M. CST

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