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The White House
Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release

Remarks by the First Lady Before a Roundtable with Young African Leaders

The Omni Shoreham Hotel
Washington, D.C.

11:41 A.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  I don’t want to do too much talking because I just talked in there.  You heard my thoughts.  But I’m really interested in hearing from you. 

As I’ve said -- as you’ve heard, as Tina has shared with you -- we are really focusing on education broadly in the United States, and girls’ education internationally.  And this isn’t just something that I care about now in my role as First Lady.  This is an issue that we’re going to have to continue to work on until I take my last breath. 

And so that means that you all are going to be carrying a lot of this stuff that we begin over the finish line.  And it’s so important to hear your voices and understand directly from you how these issues impact your life, how do you think somebody in my position can utilize my platform and my resources, again, not just in my role as First Lady, but as the years go forward. 

So I really want to hear from you.  And as you heard in my speech, I want us to speak as honestly and as openly as possible. Because I think that’s the only way we’re going to begin to chip away at some of these barriers and to really get a better, clear understanding of what the challenges really are if we’re going to solve this problem.

So with that, I’m going to stop talking.  And I understand that a few of you have some specific presentations, but I also want to know that -- as the press clears out, which they will -- that we can also -- because I know you haven’t had an opportunity to talk to us one-on-one; you talked to the President -- but if there are any questions that you have, I’d be happy, happy to take some time to talk to you, as well.

But let me just say I’m so proud of you all.  I really am.  And we’re really going to need your insight and your focus and your expertise.  So be bold, and be brave, and don’t be shy. 

11:45 A.M. EDT