FIRST LADY’S ASIAN TRIP: First Lady Michelle Obama has fashionistas on alert in Asia. Obama will travel without President Obama or her daughters to Japan and Cambodia from Wednesday to Sunday to promote a new initiative dubbed “Let Girls Learn,” in collaboration with the Peace Corp. The program aims to improve access to education for young adolescent girls in 11 countries.
While in Tokyo, Obama will meet with Akie Abe, the spouse of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Japanese university students. She will then travel to Kyoto, where she will visit a Buddhist temple and Shinto shrine. On the second leg of her trip to Cambodia, Obama will make a bit of history by becoming the first sitting First Lady to visit the country, according to White House officials.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis both visited the country, but not when they were First Ladies. The stop in Cambodia has raised some eyebrows, however, due to the country’s record on human rights abuses, although the First Lady’s chief of staff, Tina Tchen, addressed the controversy Monday, saying Cambodia is making strides in addressing community-led education solutions and is already working with the Peace Corp. on the ground. While there, Obama will meet with Bun Rany, the First Lady of Cambodia, hear from high school students, meet with Peace Corp. volunteers and visit Angkor Wat, one of the most important archeological sites in Southeast Asia.
“Japan and Cambodia represent two key components of our approach to tackling the problem [of barriers to education],” Tchen said.