Speaking at a London girls' school, Michelle Obama makes a passionate, personal case for each student to take education seriously. It is this new, brilliant generation, she says, that will close the gap between the world as it is and the world as it should be.
Michelle Obama - First Lady of the United States First Lady Michelle Obama, a lawyer and administrator, is an advocate for working parents and education for girls all around the world. Full bio
This is my first trip,
my first foreign trip as a first lady.
Can you believe that?
And while this is not my first visit to the U.K.,
I have to say that I am glad that this is my first official visit.
The special relationship between the United States and the U.K.
is based not only on the relationship between governments,
but the common language and the values that we share,
and I'm reminded of that by watching you all today.
During my visit I've been especially honored
to meet some of Britain's most extraordinary women --
women who are paving the way for all of you.
And I'm honored to meet you,
the future leaders of Great Britain and this world.
And although the circumstances of our lives may seem very distant,
with me standing here as the First Lady of the United States of America,
and you, just getting through school,
I want you to know that we have very much in common.
For nothing in my life's path
would have predicted that I'd be standing here
as the first African-American First Lady
of the United States of America.
There is nothing in my story that would land me here.
I wasn't raised with wealth or resources
or any social standing to speak of.
I was raised on the South Side of Chicago.
That's the real part of Chicago.
And I was the product of a working-class community.
My father was a city worker all of his life,
and my mother was a stay-at-home mom.
And she stayed at home to take care of me and my older brother.
Neither of them attended university.
My dad was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis
in the prime of his life.
But even as it got harder for him to walk
and get dressed in the morning --
I saw him struggle more and more --
my father never complained about his struggle.
He was grateful for what he had.
He just woke up a little earlier and worked a little harder.
And my brother and I were raised with all that you really need:
love, strong values
and a belief that with a good education
and a whole lot of hard work,
that there was nothing that we could not do.
I am an example of what's possible
when girls from the very beginning of their lives
are loved and nurtured by the people around them.
I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life:
Michelle Obama - First Lady of the United States First Lady Michelle Obama, a lawyer and administrator, is an advocate for working parents and education for girls all around the world.
Why you should listen
Michelle Obama's life as First Lady of the United States is informed by her early life, growing up as the daughter of a pump operator for the Chicago water department. Though money was tight, her parents emphasized education and possibility for their two brilliant children. Both kids went to Princeton (her older brother, Craig Robinson, was a bond trader, then become a much-respected basketball coach at Brown and now Oregon State University); Michelle went on to Harvard Law School, and returned to Chicago to do corporate law at the firm where she met her future husband, Barack Obama. She left corporate law to become a civil servant, working in planning, social outreach and administration with the city of Chicago, AmeriCorps and the University of Chicago Medical Center.
While Michelle Obama's personal focus is on raising her own two children, Malia and Sasha, in the glare of White House life, her outward focus, as First Lady, revolves around issues of education and work-life balance; she's a passionate supporter of working mothers and for global education of women and girls. She's helping to lead the drive for national service, encouraging Americans to volunteer in their own communities. Follow her on Snapchat at @michelleobama.