The White House is reporting that first lady Michelle Obama's official trip to southern Africa kicks off this week. Her visit will focus on youth leadership and education and will include meetings with key figures in the anti-apartheid struggle.
The first lady will travel to Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa and Gaborone, Botswana. During the trip, which will extend from June 21 to 26, Mrs. Obama will deliver the keynote address to a U.S.-sponsored Young African Women Leaders Forum in South Africa.
Forum participants include young women from across sub-Saharan Africa, like Toyosi and Annah, who are leading or involved in social and economic initiatives in their own countries. The forum will build on the Obama administration's ongoing engagement with the next generation of African leaders and the momentum of the August 2010 President's Forum With Young African Leaders held at the White House.
Faith Karimi of CNN reports that while in southern Africa, the first lady will also meet with South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Graca Machel, the wife of former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela. Mrs. Obama will not be meeting with Mr. Mandela, who is reportedly ill.
In addition to visits with top leaders, the first lady will also attend a series of public events, meet embassy officials and take part in community-service projects in both Botswana and South Africa, including Robben Island and the Apartheid Museum.
This sounds like a purposeful trip with an important objective. We're counting down to how long it will take for Republicans to lambaste Mrs. Obama for taking such an expensive and unnecessary trip during a precarious time for our country. While the haters sharpen their knives, we will wish her safe travels and a successful outcome.
Find out more about the trip at WhiteHouse.gov/youngafrica.
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