Former First Lady Michelle Obama seemed to take her own advice to “go high” in response to rumours that President Donald Trump would end her signature 'Let Girls Learn' Initiative.
Reports surfaced recently that the Trump administration would be cancelling the initiative, which advances education for young women around the world, as part of their rollback of several Obama-era programmes.
CNN reported that Peace Corps Acting Director Sheila Crowley had sent a memo to staff announcing the end of the stand-alone programme. A spokesperson from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) told The Independent that the agency is "committed to empowering women and girls around the world" and are "continuing to examine the best ways to do so."
A spokesperson from the White House and USAID later clarified that the 'Let Girls Learn' initiative still stands. But Ms Obama seemed to feel the need to protect her signature program, which she did through an understated tweet.
“Excited by the potential of the Obama Pres. Center,” she wrote. “Barack & I will continue to champion the issues close to our hearts, including girls ed.”
The former first lady expanded on the tweet at an event for College Signing Day on Friday, saying that her and the former president's belief in the power of education is "going to be at core of everything that we do going forward."
"I might not live in the White House anymore, but Barack and I are going to keep on celebrating you all and supporting you and lifting you up no matter what house we live in," she said.
Both Ms Obama and her husband both announced their intentions to work with young people in their first public appearances since taking office. Mr Obama said at the University of Chicago that he would be looking for more ways to get young people into leadership roles. Ms Obama said she would focus on girls’ education and health care, as well as violence against women.
“The plight of women and girls is real,” she told attendees at the American Institute of Architects’ annual conference. “The struggles are real.”
The couple has avoided speaking out against Mr Trump since he took office, sticking to promotion for their own philanthropic efforts. But a memorable quote from Ms Obama on the campaign trail still resonates with supporters.
Michelle Obama as the First Lady
Speaking of Mr Trump at the Democratic National Convention last year, the former first lady urged her fellow Democrats to take the moral high ground.
“Our motto is: when they go low, we go high,” she said.
The “Let Girls Learn” Initiative had recently announced $5 million in private sector donations and partnerships with 11 different countries. Hoping to continue the program through the new administration, the Obama White House issued an eight-page fact sheet on the benefits of investing in girls’ education worldwide.
The White House and USAID did not say why memos about ending the program had been sent.Reuse content