From: Zach Dyer
Sent: Sunday, June 19, 2016 12:09 PM
To: Gleeson, James M. EOP/OVP
Subject: Dr. Biden Pool Report #1
The Second Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, visited the Universidad Técnica Nacional in Alajuela, Costa Rica Sunday morning on the first stop of her Central and South American tour this week focused on the economic and educational advancement of women and girls.
Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Sol?s, Costa Rican First Lady Mercedes Pe?a Domingo and Education Minister Sonia Marta Mora Escalante greeted Dr. Biden when she arrived at the campus some 20 km west of the capital, San José, accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica S. Fitzgerald Haney.
Some 80 Costa Rican school girls between 12 and 19 years old studying science and technology greeted Dr. Biden waving U.S. and Costa Rica flags and cheering, “Bienvenidos a Costa Rica,” welcome to Costa Rica.
"I’m a teacher so I know it’s hard to come back on a weekend and a Father’s Day,” Dr. Biden said, "Truly, you are all inspiring young women.” Both Costa Rica and the U.S. celebrate Father’s Day on the same date.
Touring the students’ science projects, Dr. Biden met Mar?a Celeste Rojas, a 16-year old student who designed a low-cost 3D printable prosthesis to help amputees feel the pressure of a car gas pedal. Rojas’ father lost his lower right leg to diabetes.
“A lot of soldiers could use this who lost their limbs,” Dr. Biden said, “Your father must be very proud of you."
Dr. Biden said that fathers play a critical role in encouraging their daughters to pursue their education and go on to join the wider economy.
"Costa Rica is a leader to be sure that women and girls have equal access to education and opportunities,” Dr. Biden said, “The success of a nation is measured by the success of its women.”
Dr. Biden said that during her trip through the region she would meet with government leaders, educators and civil society members to discuss solutions to “level the playing field” so that region’s girls and women have the same opportunities as their male counterparts.
Prior to Dr. Biden’s visit to Costa Rica, she and Ms. Pe?a spoke on June 14 during the TeachHer STEM initiative event at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Paris to discuss Costa Rica’s efforts at closing the gap for science and technology education for women and girls there. Costa Rica will be the first country in Central America to host the TeachHer Initiative.
“I’d like to give you a warm welcome as the second lady and as a fellow educator and thank you for making our country the first stop on your trip to Latin America,” said President Sol?s, as he stressed the importance of public education for boys and girls.
“There’s no developed country in the world where women are absent,” from science, technology and engineering fields, said Sol?s.
“I wish you much success that this initiative,” President Sol?s said.
After leaving Costa Rica, Dr. Biden continues on to Peru, Argentina and Panama.
Zach Dyer, reporter
The Tico Times