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  • This post is part of a series authored by First Lady Michelle Obama to share her visit to Japan and Cambodia and the Let Girls Learn initiative with young people in the U.S. Find out how you can get involved at letgirlslearn.peacecorps.gov.

    On this trip, I had the pleasure of standing with leaders who are making historic investments in girls’ education — and I had the privilege of meeting extraordinary girls and the community leaders, volunteers and teachers who are working so hard to help them go to school and pursue their dreams. Along the way, I experienced the rich culture and history of two fascinating countries.

    First Lady Michelle waves upon departure from Siem Reap Airport in Siem, Reap

    First Lady Michelle waves upon departure from Siem Reap Airport in Siem, Reap Cambodia on March 22, 2015. The First Lady traveled to Japan and Cambodia as part of the “Let Girls Learn” initiative. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

  • This post is part of a series authored by First Lady Michelle Obama to share her visit to Japan and Cambodia and the Let Girls Learn initiative with young people in the U.S.

    After visiting the Let Girls Learn training, I traveled to Angkor Wat, a massive, ancient temple located just outside of Siem Reap. Angkor Wat was built in the early twelfth century, and it still stands as the largest religious monument on earth. It has become known as a national symbol for Cambodia — it’s even on Cambodia’s flag. Angkor Wat was originally built to celebrate the Hindu god Vishnu and then later became a Buddhist temple site. It is located in what was the capital of the ancient Khmer Empire here in Cambodia. Back then, temples, homes and farms stretched for miles around, and people created elaborate irrigation structures to bring water from rivers to farmers’ fields.

    After meeting with these remarkable young women, I dropped by one of the very first Let Girls Learn trainings for Peace Corps Volunteers and the local leaders, educators and students they’re working with here in Cambodia. Together, they are doing such amazing work. They’re running girls’ leadership camps and girls’ sports teams and learning about health and nutrition, and this training will give them even more skills and tools to educate and empower girls. The Peace Corps will eventually be conducting these girls’ education trainings for all of its nearly 7,000 volunteers, and I cannot wait to see what they do with everything they learn!

  • This post is part of a series authored by First Lady Michelle Obama to share her visit to Japan and Cambodia and the Let Girls Learn initiative with young people in the U.S.

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Mrs. Bun Rany Hun, First Lady of Cambodia, are greeted by students

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Mrs. Bun Rany Hun, First Lady of Cambodia, are greeted by students while visiting the Room to Read program at Hun Sen Bakorng High School in Siem Reap, Cambodia as part of the “Let Girls Learn” initiative on March 21, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    I started the day with a visit to the Hun Sen Bakorng High School which has nearly 1,600 hundred students in grades seven through twelve. I was joined by the First Lady of Cambodia, Mrs. Bun Rany, who also cares deeply about girls’ education.

    At this school, an organization called Room to Read runs a special scholarship program for girls who live in areas far from the school. Girls in remote parts of Cambodia often wind up dropping out of school because it’s too dangerous to travel to and from school each day or they just can’t afford the costs of transportation. But Room to Read provides girls with scholarships that cover the cost of housing, food and books, so they can live at the school and get their education.

    I had the pleasure of meeting with these girls, and they were absolutely amazing — so passionate about their education and so determined to pursue their dreams. Two of these students — young women named Sohang Vean and Lorn Phounam — shared their stories with me, and I want to share them with you:

  • This week, the President announced a new executive order that will allow America to lead on climate, traveled to Ohio to answer a few questions at The City Club of Cleveland, hosted the the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and celebrated St. Patrick's day with the Prime Minister of Ireland. The First Lady also had a busy week, heading to Japan and Cambodia to launch key partnerships for the Let Girls Learn initiative. 

    Find out more about the past week in our latest weekly wrap-up.


    Leading by Example

    President Obama signed an executive order on Thursday that will help us cut greenhouse gas emissions and set a bold example to other nations. This week’s order positions the federal government to cut their carbon pollution emissions by 40% over 10 years. This would save taxpayers up to $18 billion in energy costs and increase the share of electricity the federal government uses from renewable sources to 30%.

    Learn more about the President’s recent actions and how it sets a global example.

  • Today, Instagrammers from across the nation met for a White House InstaMeet inside the East Wing. To celebrate the 11th Worldwide InstaMeet, 20 Instagrammers shared the history, art, and architecture of the White House with their followers using #WHInstaMeet.

    Chief Official White House Photographer Pete Souza kicked off the tour with a Q&A session about his work and experiences at the White House. He even joined the group for the tour, pointing out several official photographs hanging on the White House walls. 

    President Obama and the First Lady are committed to opening the doors of the White House and truly making it the "People’s House." Our InstaMeet continues a series of online engagement events that invite citizens around the country to engage with their government. Check back on WhiteHouse.gov/social and follow @WhiteHouse on Twitter for updates on upcoming opportunities.

  • President Obama tapes the Weekly Address on Loretta Lynch

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Map Room of the White House, March 20, 2015. March 20, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    In this week’s address, the President called on Republicans in Congress to stop playing politics with law enforcement and national security and confirm Loretta Lynch as Attorney General of the United States.

    Loretta is an independent, career prosecutor who deserves to be confirmed as soon as possible. She has proven herself time and again throughout her 30-year career, yet come Monday, the amount of time her nomination will have languished on the floor of the Senate will total more than that of the past seven Attorney General nominees combined.  

    In his address, the President asked Republicans in Congress to stop denying a vote on the nomination of Loretta Lynch and end the longest confirmation process for an Attorney General in three decades.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3

  • It’s almost that time… when the White House transforms for a day into a hands-on showcase of robots, inventions, and innovative science projects – all built, made, and designed by kids.

    That’s right, this Monday, March 23, President Obama will host the fifth-ever White House Science Fair, welcoming more than 100 students from across the country to share their projects and celebrate their extraordinary science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) achievements at the White House.

    This year’s exhibit lineup includes a diverse array of projects, from patented inventions being brought to market, to innovative apps coded from the ground up, to award-winning rockets and robots, to pollution-powered batteries, 3D-printed wheelchair parts, and plans to protect honeybees.

    Find out more below about the students participating in this year’s Science Fair:

    And share stories and photos of YOUR inventions, discoveries, and science projects on social media using #WHScienceFair.

    Trisha Prabhu
    Trisha Prabhu, 14 (Naperville, Illinois)
    Illinois teen Trisha Prabhu learned about research showing that the human brain’s decision-making region is not fully developed until age 25 and got inspired to help teens rethink how they treat others. She developed a computer program called “Rethink” that alerts users when an outgoing message contains language that is potentially abusive and hurtful. Preliminary analysis showed that adolescents who use the “Rethink” system are 93% less likely to send abusive messages than those who are not warned about the consequences of their actions prior to sending a message. Trisha earned a spot in the 2014 Google Science Fair to showcase her innovative project.
    Harry Paul
    Harry Paul, 18 (Port Washington, NY )

    18-year-old Harry Paul was born with congenital scoliosis, a curvature of the spine that, when congenital, restricts the size of the thorax preventing the heart and lungs from developing. Growing up, Harry endured more than a dozen spinal surgeries to help correct the problem. Now, he’s working to help other young people with scoliosis avoid the burdensome operations that can get in the way of living life. He designed a new type of spinal implant that expands over time, helping developing spines stay straighter as they grow, and lengthening the time young patients can go between surgeries. Harry’s implant could potentially help lower the number of risky procedures needed from over a dozen to less than five over the course of a child’s surgical treatment. His design earned him numerous awards, including the Grand Awards of First Place, Best in Category (Bioengineering), and the Innovation Exploration Award at the 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

  • This was originally posted of the Department of Interior's blog. You can read the original post here


    As Secretary of the Interior, I am fortunate to oversee American treasures like the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, and the Everglades. These are places owned by each and every American. 


    They are central to our national character, and it is an honor to support their long-term stewardship for the benefit of all.


    As manager of 700 million acres of public subsurface estate and our offshore outer continental shelf resources, it is also my responsibility to oversee a significant portion of American energy production, including oil and natural gas, coal, and renewable resources. Just as much as any national park, these resources belong to each and every American. Their responsible development helps drive our economy and our way of life, and it is my duty to ensure that as they are developed, it is done in a balanced and thoughtful way for the public good.

  • Get your March Madness dancing shoes on: Barack-etology is back.

    For the seventh straight year, President Obama sat down with ESPN's Andy Katz to fill out his brackets for the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments.

    In his men's bracket, the President has Arizona, Duke, Kentucky, and Villanova headed to the Final Four.

    Get excited Big Blue Nation: Like the majority of Americans, President Obama picked Kentucky to cut down the nets on April 6 and complete an undefeated season as National Champions.


    Update: Check out President Obama's NCAA women's tournament bracket, in which he picked the Connecticut Huskies to win the national title.

  • This week, the President dropped by the new home of a wounded warrior, met with some impressive Youth of the Year winners, celebrated St. Patrick's Day, hosted the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, and discussed Middle Class Economics in Ohio. That's March 13 to March 19th or, "See Ya, Sparkle!"

  • First Lady Michelle Obama is keeping a travel journal while promoting the Let Girls Learn initiative in Japan and Cambodia. Her third post appeared on Medium today. 


    Today we traveled to the beautiful Japanese city of Kyoto.

    Tucked into a valley and surrounded by mountains on three sides, Kyoto was the imperial capital of Japan for over 1,000 years. Because of its majestic mountain scenery, some people called the Japanese nobility who lived there “cloud dwellers.”

    First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a centennial tree planting ceremony during the National Cherry Blossom Festival (March 27, 2012)

    First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a centennial tree planting ceremony during the National Cherry Blossom Festival at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., March 27, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

     

  • The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall met with President Obama and Vice President Biden today. The mid-afternoon Oval Office meeting underscored the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom. The President conveyed the level of respect that the American people have for the two royals. “I think it’s fair to say that the American people are quite fond of the royal family,” said the President. “That’s awfully nice to know,” Prince Charles said in return.

    Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall meet with President Obama and Vice President Biden in the Oval Office

    President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, in the Oval Office, March 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    This is the Prince and Duchess’ third official trip to the United States and is part of a four-day visit to Washington, D.C. While visiting, they are engaging in activities to promote the United Kingdom’s partnership with the United States in key areas, such as combatting climate change, creating opportunities for youth, encouraging corporate social responsibility, and preserving historical and cultural links.

    The Prince and The Duchess have spent part of their trip visiting monuments, Mount Vernon, the Armed Forces Retirement Home, a local international school, the Global Ocean Commission, and the U.S. National Archives, where The Prince marked the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. 

  • Last year, the President created the U.S. Digital Service (USDS), a new team comprised of some of the country’s most gifted technologists from America’s top tech companies who are dedicated to improving how government utilizes the power of technology to serve the American people. Working with talented leaders across our agencies, USDS's engineers, designers, and product managers are helping to solve some of the biggest challenges facing government.

    Today, as part of that momentum, the President announced that one of those engineers, David Recordon, will serve as the Director of White House Information Technology, a newly created position that will be responsible for modernizing the White House’s own technology.

  • Late last year, in an historic joint announcement with China, President Obama set an ambitious goal for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change – a clear sign that the United States’ commitment to leadership on climate change at home and abroad is stronger than ever.

    In the latest effort to continue that push, this morning, President Obama signed an executive order that will help us stay on track to meet the new target pledged in China and ensure that the federal government leads by example as the United States moves boldly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while boosting clean energy. This new sustainability plan for the next decade directs federal agencies to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2025. That means big cuts to the dangerous emissions driving climate change – and also big savings. In addition to 21 million metric tons of emission reductions – the same as taking 4.2 million cars of the road for a year — achieving this goal will save taxpayers up to $18 billion in avoided energy costs between 2008 and 2025.

    Today’s action builds off of the strong progress the federal government has made over the past six years. Already, federal agencies have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent since the President took office, and increased the share of electricity consumed from renewable sources from 3 percent to 9 percent in 2013. Agencies have also made progress on a number of other fronts, like reducing water use by 19 percent since 2007. But there is much more work to do – and that’s what today’s announcement is all about.

    To achieve this level of government-wide progress, each of our agencies has had to step up and take real action. And it’s working. Here are a few examples:

  • First Lady Michelle Obama is keeping a travel journal while promoting the Let Girls Learn initiative in Japan and Cambodia. Her second post appeared on Medium today. 


    I arrived in Tokyo, Japan last night, and this morning, I was proud to stand with Mrs. Akie Abe, the wife of Japan’s Prime Minister, as we announced a new partnership between Japan and the United States that will help girls around the world go to school.

    It’s not surprising that America and Japan are coming together on this issue.

    Mrs. Abe and I are both passionate about girls’ education — as are our husbands — and Japan is one of America’s strongest and most important allies. Japan and the United States also share so many values. We are both democracies and believe strongly in freedom of speech and religion and protecting the basic rights of all our citizens. Both our countries care deeply about education. And both America and Japan believe in helping other countries that have fewer resources — countries where people struggle with poverty and disease and where many young people, particularly girls, don’t have the chance to attend school.

    As part of our new partnership, both Japan and the U.S. will be investing in programs that will help girls around the world get an education. As I mentioned in my opening post, here in the U.S., this effort is called Let Girls Learn, and it features a new girls’ education initiative run by the Peace Corps.

    First Lady Michelle Obama In Japan for Let Girls Learn_1

    First Lady Michelle Obama is joined by Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and Akie Abe, the First Lady of Japan, during a “Let GIrls Learn” announcement held at the Iikura Guest House in Tokyo, Japan on March 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

  • President Obama traveled to Ohio yesterday to tour an innovation center at Cleveland State University and to answer questions at The City Club of Cleveland -- a Presidential tradition stretching back to President Reagan.

    The President began his day-long trip to the buckeye state with a stop at the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network’s (MAGNET) Innovation Center.

    President Obama tours the MAGNET Innovation Center at Cleveland State University

    President Barack Obama views a test of a diesel cleaning unit during a tour MAGNET (Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network) at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio, March 18, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

  • As you might have seen, House Republicans released their Fiscal Year 2016 budget this week -- and to put it very simply, its priorities are pretty different from those in the President's budget. The House GOP would cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires, all while slashing investments in the middle class that we know would grow the economy -- particularly in job training, manufacturing, and education.

    Their budget would cut funding for pre-k through 12 education by $3.1 billion. This includes a $1.2 billion cut for Title I funding -- money that could fund 4,500 schools, 17,000 teachers and aides, and 1.9 million students.

    Earlier this week, the President met with superintendents and other school officials from all across the country. Each of them brought at least one object -- from photos to books to charts -- that represented what this vital funding means to their school districts.

    Every American should know exactly what disinvestment in Pre-K through 12 education would mean for school districts around the country. Listen to each of these school leaders describe the vital programs in their districts that Title I helps fund.


    1. "Acceleration Academies" that provide a month's worth of learning in one week's time.

    Michael O'Neill, Chairperson of the Boston School Committee (Boston, MA)

  • Our nation’s budget is not only a statement of our values – what we believe we should be investing in and how – but also a helpful tool to address challenges and promote progress in our country.

    You can see it in newspaper headlines every day – the direct impact our policies have on the security and future of millions of Americans.

    So if you were in charge of the nation’s budget, what would you do?
    Take the quiz to find out.

     

     

     

    Learn more about the clear difference in vision between House Republicans and President Obama when it comes to building a better future for hardworking Americans. 

  • 1.  Make everything green.

    Six years ago, First Lady Michelle Obama requested that the White House fountain be dyed green -- similar to a Chicago tradition, wherein the city dyes its river green. This White House St. Patty’s Day tradition continued today.

    The Water in the Fountain on the North Lawn of the White House is Dyed Green in Honor of St. Patrick's Day

    The water in the fountain on the North Lawn of the White House is dyed green in honor of St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

     

  • President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the Council of the Great City Schools

    President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press while meeting with the leadership of the Council of the Great City Schools in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, March 16, 2015. (Official White House by Chuck Kennedy)

    Yesterday, President Obama spoke to the Council of the Great City Schools about the exceptional progress being made within local and state education levels. The work of our administrators and educators has been more impactful than ever, resulting in higher standardized test scores in some of the previously lowest-performing schools and increased resources for students.

    In fact, more graduation caps are going airborne as high school students are graduating at the highest rate ever recorded, with the largest improvement among minority and low-income students.

    See what President Obama had to say about what we must do to improve access to quality education in America: 

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