*The first lady, first daughters and first mother-In-law are all headed to China this month.
In an announcement Monday on the White House blog, Michelle Obama says a China visit is important because it is the most populous country in the world, with more than 1.3 billion people, and is an important world actor.
She’ll be accompanied by daughters, Malia and Sasha, and her mother, Marian Robinson, who lives at the White House. President Obama will not be on the trip; he is scheduled to depart the U.S. later that week for stops in the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Saudi Arabia.
The Obama ladies will travel from March 19-26, spending several days in the capital of Beijing before stops in the central city of Xian and the southwestern city of Chengdu, the White House said. Her schedule includes a meeting with Peng Liyuan, the wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Mrs. Obama will spend her time there focusing on the importance of education, including in her own life, during visits to a high school and a university in Beijing, and a high school in Chengdu.
FLOTUS is encouraging American students to follow her trip on social media and the White House website, where she will post a daily travel blog. In preparation for the trip, she scheduled a visit Tuesday to a Washington charter elementary school with a Chinese-immersion, international baccalaureate program.
In her blog post, the first lady said countries today are no longer isolated and face many of the same challenges, whether it is to provide students with a good education, combat hunger, poverty and disease or address threats like climate change.
“These issues affect every last one of us, so it’s critically important that young people like you learn about what’s going on not just here in America, but around the world,” Mrs. Obama said. “Because when it comes to the challenges we face, soon, all of you will be leading the way.”
“That’s why everywhere I go, whether it’s here in the U.S. or abroad, I meet with young people to hear about your challenges, hopes and dreams — and that’s what I’ll be doing in China as well,” she said. “I’ll be focusing on the power and importance of education, both in my own life and in the lives of young people in both of our countries.”