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FLOTUS Travel Journal: Kicking Off Our Trip to Africa

The First Lady is heading to Africa – to Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania – and she wants young people all across America to join!

Today, my husband, President Obama, and I, along with our daughters, are heading to Africa – to Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania – and we want young people all across America to join us!

This is such an important trip because Africa is such an important partner to the United States on so many of the issues facing our world today – from climate change and terrorism, to poverty and disease, to the challenge of creating jobs in our global economy. And more than ever before, our success here in the U.S. is tied to the success of other countries around the world – in so many ways, we will all rise or fall together. So it’s critical that young people like you develop a global perspective as citizens of the world – it’s critical that you follow not just what’s happening in the news here in the U.S., but what’s happening all around the world, including the international travels and policies of our President. Because when it comes to the issues our countries face, young people like you – both here in the United States and across Africa – will have to work together to lead the way. In the coming years, you all will be building the businesses, and making the scientific discoveries, and drafting the laws and policies that will move our countries – and our world – forward for decades to come.

That’s why, when I visited Africa back in 2011, I spent most of my time with passionate, dynamic, inspiring young people, listening to their stories and sharing my own. I also had the privilege of meeting one of the greatest heroes that Africa – and the world – has ever known: former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. President Mandela is in the hospital right now, and he is very much in our thoughts and prayers. I’ll be writing more about President Mandela’s extraordinary contributions to history – and what we can all do in our own lives to live up to his legacy – in future blog posts.

On this trip, I’ll once again be focusing on young people: I’ll be hosting a student town hall where I’ll be emphasizing the importance of education…I’ll be visiting a school where young women are training to become the next generation of leaders in their country… I’ll be attending a performance by a youth dance and acrobatics troupe who are learning about focus, dedication and goal-setting as they become accomplished performers…and I’ll be going to important cultural and historical sites as well.

I want young people here in the U.S. to join me on this journey so that you can engage with – and learn from – the African students I meet and experience the rich culture and history of each of these countries right alongside me. All you have to do is get online:

  • For updates from the road, follow my new Instagram account @MichelleObama and check out @FLOTUS on Twitter.
  • Every day on the White House blog, you can check out my travel journal – which will include photos and videos – to learn more about the places I visit and the people I meet.
  • On Saturday, June 29th, at 9:30am EST, I’ll be hosting a special town hall that connects young people in South Africa with young people in the U.S. through a Google+ Hangout. I would love for you to join! Watch it live right here.
  • Use the hashtag #FLOTUSinAfrica to discuss the trip and ask your questions – I'll be answering some of these questions throughout the trip.

I hope you can join me for this important and exciting trip!

Michelle Obama is the First Lady of the United States

View the full-size gallery of the First Lady's 2011 Trip to South Africa and Botswana