Thursday, July 23 Saluting our troops. That’s how Dr. Biden wrapped up her week-long trip traveling across Asia. After visiting the Republic of Korea, Vietnam and Laos, Dr. Biden touched down in Okinawa, Japan to visit military families at Kadena Air Base as part of her Joining Forces initiative.
Speaking to Air Force, Marine, Army, and Navy families, Dr. Biden thanked them for their service to our country, and expressed the need for Americans around the world to appreciate the sacrifice that comes with service.
While in Vientiane, Dr. Biden also met with the Lao Minister of Education and Sports. The two talked about strengthening Laos’ education system, and widening the window of opportunity to girls across the country. As a lifelong educator and current community college professor, Dr. Biden spoke about her passion for teaching and the long-term benefits of investing in quality education for the next generation. In a speech later that day, Dr. Biden encourage students in Laos to study hard, complete their assignments and to challenge themselves well beyond their time in school because they represent their future.
“What all of you are doing – putting your education first – is so important. By focusing on your students, you are creating a lifetime of opportunities for you and your families,” Dr. Biden said.
Before departing Laos, Dr. Biden visited Luang Phrabang to see how a boat on the Mekong River is providing students in underserved communities with needed educational resources. Filled with books and school supplies, the boat travels up and down the Mekong River to give students the opportunity to read new books and further their education. It’s innovate efforts like this boat that build so much promise for the future of education.
To see footage from this boat and so much more, watch this video highlighting Dr. Biden’s entire trip:
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Tuesday, July 21: Traveling through Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Dr. Biden continued her trip in Asia to highlight the importance of women's empowerment and educational opportunities for girls around the world.
In Hanoi, Dr. Biden visited the U.S. Department of Defense's POW/MIA Accounting Agency, where the U.S. military leads efforts to pursue the fullest possible accounting for members of the military still missing from the Vietnam War. As part of Dr. Biden's Joining Forces initiative, and as a military mom, this visit served as an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices of our military.
"You are unsung heroes," Dr Biden told the members of POW/MIA accounting team, thanking them for their service.
Dr. Biden later met with the First Lady of Vietnam at the historic Temple of Literature in Hanoi. The two talked about the progress the United States and Vietnam have made since normalization of relations between our two countries, and both underscored the important role women play in our workforce and our communities.
Dr. Biden then drove out to the countryside to visit the Ba Vi Orphanage. Ba Vi is home to children afflicted with HIV and AIDS. The center provides them with the health care they need and an education that will continue to help them throughout their life.
Next, Dr. Biden. flew to Ho Chi Minh City where she visited the offices of VinEcom, a tech-start-up started by a young female entrepreneur. Women entrepreneurs are helping Vietnam integrate into the global economy, and to create a brighter future for their communities.
While in Ho Chi Minh City, Dr. Biden attended an English-language teachers' workshop at The American Center, a learning facility funded by the United States. It was an opportunity for Dr. Biden, a lifelong educator and current professor, to share her experiences with English-language teachers in Vietnam.
Watch Dr. Biden meet with these inspiring leaders:
Stay tuned for more updates about Dr. Biden's travels through Asia.
Saturday, July 18: Kicking off Dr. Biden’s four-nation tour through Asia, Dr. Jill Biden arrived in Seoul, Republic of Korea on Saturday afternoon.
Her first stop was the Jinkwansa Temple, an ancient monastery that dates back to 1011. It is home to female monks, who use the temple as a place to demonstrate important spiritual, cultural, and historical values in Korean culture. The female monks also serve as leaders in their community, helping empower women and girls in Korea.
The monks led Dr. Biden around the temple grounds, explaining its rich history and showing her the dozens of pots that store doenjang, or fermented soybeans that they prepare.
“We just wanted to say how excited we are to be here in Korea and how wonderful the sisters have been to us today,” Dr. Biden said at the temple. “They’re educating women and empowering women. That’s one of the purposes of this trip.”
In the evening, Dr. Biden continued her discussion of women and girls by meeting with Jim Hee-Jun, the Republic of Korea’s Minister of Gender Equality and Family. The meeting focused on gender equality and women’s leadership in society.
Coming out of their meeting, the two leaders then visited a reception honoring female leaders in the Korean and American communities, including U.S. military personnel.
“Ann yeong haseyo!” Dr. Biden told the crowd, meaning “Hello!”
“President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and my husband Joe, the Vice President, have worked to empower women in the workforce and to shape every level of our government so that their voices are heard throughout society and all around the world,” Dr. Biden said. “To see those same efforts being made in the Republic of Korea shows how far we’ve come – not just as women in individual nations but as a global community of men and women working together toward full gender equality.”
In the Republic of Korea, Dr. Jill Biden delivered the keynote address at a reception hosted by the Minister of Gender Equity & Family. Watch below:
“Throughout my trip, we’ll meet with more women like all of you – women entrepreneurs, youth, and political leaders who are all empowering their communities and the next generation of women, because they know a nation cannot reach its full potential until its women reach theirs.”
Stay tuned as Dr. Biden continues her travels to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Thursday, July 16: Ahead of a week-long visit to the Republic of Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Japan, Dr. Jill Biden is joining Instagram to give followers a unique inside look at her trip across Asia. Instagram followers will have access to behind-the-scenes photos from the road as she meets with students, women entrepreneurs, and military families.
Check out her first post:
Throughout her travels, Dr. Biden will highlight the importance of women and girls in the workforce and the power of education. While in Japan, she will participate in events as part of her Joining Forces
Stay tuned for photos during and after the trip, and don’t forget to follow Dr. Biden on Twitter
Check back here for updates from the road as Dr. Biden makes her way through Asia!