From: Anderson, Nick [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 04, 2015 09:01 AM
To: Rosholm, Joanna; Adler, Caroline; Vrazilek, Lauren; Donohue, Kelsey
Subject: FLOTUS pool report #1
On Wednesday, the FLOTUS motorcade left the St. Regis Hotel in Doha on a bright and slightly breezy morning in the Qatar capital. Wheels rolled at 8:34 a.m., and the first lady arrived at the Qatar National Convention Center 13 minutes later, across the street from a complex called Education City that hosts several U.S. universities. There, your pool found a seat in a cavernous auditorium that was hosting about 2,000 delegates to a gathering of educators, activists and education officials called the World Innovation Summit for Education. The delegates, we were told, came from more than 120 countries.
FLOTUS came here to speak at the conference, with an emphasis on promoting educational opportunity for adolescent girls. She entered the auditorium with Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, mother of Qatar's emir, shortly after 9 a.m. and sat in the front row. Sheikha Moza delivered a speech lamenting how the crisis in Syria and other conflicts are depriving millions of children of the opportunity to learn. "Ladies and gentlemen, education is under attack," she said. Sheikha Moza then urged a turnaround: "Let us shine a light of opportunity on the future of the world's youth," she said.
Sheikha Moza, after speaking, awarded a special prize to honor an Afghan woman named Sakena Yacoobi, who for many years has helped promote educational opportunity and health services in a central Asian nation beset by war and oppression. Yacoobi came onstage to receive a medal from Sheikha Moza, and FLOTUS joined them onstage to congratulate Yacoobi, posing with her and Sheikha Moza for a picture.
FLOTUS then took her turn at the podium at 9:35 a.m. She delivered an impassioned plea for access and opportunity for girls and women. Following are some quick quotes, with more to come in a subsequent report.
She praised Sheikha Moza and Qatar for opening education to women, noting that two thirds of university students in the Gulf state are female. "It is due in large part to her leadership," FLOTUS said of Sheikha Moza.
She also praised the delegates. "You’re all doing this work for one simple reason—because like me you believe that every child on this plantet deserves the chance to fulfill their boundless potential," FLOTUS said. "We all know that right now we are far from achieving the goal."
She lamented that "62 million girls worldwide right now are not in school."
"When it comes to secondary education, girls still lag far behind," she said. She added: "When girls do attend secondary school, they often do so at great risk."
"We need to have an honest conversation about how we view and treat women in our societies," she said. She added: "This conversation needs to happen in every country on this planet, including my own."
The speech ended at 9:59 with applause and a standing ovation from the audience. More to come.