Michelle Obama launches Global Girls Al­liance

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY LYNN SWEET, WASH­ING­TON BU­REAU CHIEF lsweet@sun­times.com | @lynnsweet

WASH­ING­TON — For­mer first lady Michelle Obama launched a new Obama Foun­da­tion pro­gram on Thurs­day, the Global Girls Al­liance, putting an in­fras­truc­ture in place to nour­ish one of her White House sig­na­ture is­sues.

“When you ed­u­cate a girl, you ed­u­cate a fam­ily, a com­mu­nity, a coun­try,” Obama said on NBC’s “To­day Show.” “It makes no sense that the strength of our fam­i­lies, that girls and women are not get­ting ed­u­cated, that they are not in school.”

With the an­nounce­ment timed to the In­ter­na­tional Day of the Girl on Thurs­day, the pro­gram ad­dresses the prob­lem of 98 mil­lion girls who face bar­ri­ers to ed­u­ca­tion. A Go­FundMe drive to launch the fund was also an­nounced Thurs­day to pro­vide money to groups around the world de­voted to girls ed­u­ca­tion. There is no cash do­na­tion at this time from the Obama Foun­da­tion or the Oba­mas to this fund, a foun­da­tion spokesman said.

The first lady cre­ated “Let Girls Learn” in 2015, but the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion did not con­tinue to use that brand.

A foun­da­tion spokesman told the Sun­Times, “We soft-launched the net­work for grass-roots lead­ers ear­lier this sum­mer, and it now in­cludes about 1,400 grass-roots lead­ers from around the world. For the past sev­eral months, these lead­ers have been shar­ing their work with each other and sug­gest­ing re­sources for each other based on mu­tual in­ter­ests.”

Michelle and W

In the “To­day Show” in­ter­view, Obama told the back­story of for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush hand­ing her what looked like a cough drop at the fu­neral for late U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ari­zona, on Sept. 1 in the Na­tional Cathe­dral.

“I didn’t re­al­ize at the time that any­body no­ticed what we were do­ing. Pres­i­dent Bush and I … we are for­ever seat­mates be­cause of pro­to­col, that’s how we sit at all the of­fi­cial func­tions, so he is my part­ner in crime at ev­ery ma­jor thing where all the for­m­ers gather,” she said. “So we’re to­gether all the time, and I love him to death.”

It turned out that Bush passed her Al­toids — from his time in the White House.

“I will add they were old cough drops. That’s the funny thing, be­cause they were in the lit­tle White House box, and I was like, ‘How long have you had these?’ And he said, ‘A long time. We got a lot of these!’ ”

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