Three months after visiting Kenya and Namibia, America’s First Lady, Jill Biden, returns to Africa: Egypt and Morocco.
“I believe that understanding each other can help us find more common ground—see that, even if we are different, we’re united by our desire for truth, love, justice, and healing,” Mrs Biden told her audience in Cairo, Egypt on Saturday, 3 June, according to a press release issued by the US Embassy in Egypt.
She was speaking at the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo.
Mrs Biden is on her second official travel which includes two stops in Egypt and Morocco, North Africa, the White House Office of the First Lady said in a press statement. This was her second stop on her way back from Jordan. Having now concluded her Egypt itinerary, she proceeded to Morocco, and Portugal. Her full visit is from 30 May to 5 June, “to strengthen the United States’ partnerships and advance our shared priorities in the region,” said the White House Office of the First Lady, adding that she “will focus on the empowerment of youth around the world.”
“While in Egypt and Morocco, the First Lady will meet with women and youth, and highlight US investments aimed at supporting education initiatives and increasing economic opportunity,” said her Office of the First Lady, adding, “As First Lady, this will be Dr Biden’s second visit to the African continent.”
On Friday, 2 June, at the Cairo International Airport, she was welcomed by children of the Children’s Choir of the Egypt Opera House. She met Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Entissar Amer. The same afternoon, she joined them at the Presidential Palace.
Mrs Biden visited the El Sewedy Technical Academy, a local technical education school in Cairo “to highlight investments in Egypt’s education system through the partnership between the US Government, the Government of Egypt, and the private sector,” well in line with the planned itinerary planned by her office. She was accompanied by Reda Hegazy, Egypt’s Minister of Education and Technical Education and officials related to the Technical Academy, including Co-founder of El Sewedy Technical Academy, Owner of El Sewedy Electrometer Company, Zeinab El-Sweidi, Co-founder of El Sewedy Technical Academy and Owner of El Sewedy Electrometer Company.
In 2021, USAID and the Government of Egypt began partnering with the private sector to open 10 new International Applied Technology High Schools, including El Sewedy Technical Academy. These schools offer technical and vocational education and training to prepare students for growing industries. El Sewedy Technical Academy was opened in November 2022, co-founded by USAID, Egypt’s Ministry of Education and Technical Education (MOETE), and the El Sewedy Electrometer Company, to specialize in software development.
Other places she visited while in Egypt were the Al-Azhar Mosque – an established centre, founded by the Fatimid Caliphate as a centre of Islamic learning – where she had a Conversation with Young Leaders at Al-Azhar Mosque. Her office said that this was because she hopes to learn about the mosque and its role.
In attendance at the mosque, were Salama Daoud, President of Al-Azhar University; Samia Ahmed, Preacher at Islamic Research Academy; Hoda Al Shazly, Preacher and Al-Azhar University Graduate; graduates; researchers; students, and dignitaries, including US Ambassador John Desrocher, Charge d’Affaires of US in Embassy Cairo, and Joshua Harris, US Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary for North Africa.
Before departing for Marrakesh, Morocco, she visited the Pyramids and Great Sphinx of Giza. By visiting these sites, the White House Office of the First Lady said she has a desire to learn about the US-Egypt partnership and efforts to preserve and sustain the historic sites. She was met and guided by Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ahmed Issa, and accompanied by Leslie Reed, Egypt Mission Director, USAID.
In explaining the work of this American development organization which is helping to preserve antiquities with projects like controlling underground water that can damage historical sights because of the saline it contains, Ms Reed said, “We have invested $100 million dollars since 1995 in projects all over Egypt.” Ambassador John Desrocher, Charge d’Affaires of U.S. Embassy Cairo, also accompanied the US First Lady.
Mrs Biden’s White House Office re-stated that, “Most recently, as First Lady, Dr Biden visited Namibia and Kenya to strengthen the United States’ partnerships on the African continent and advance our shared priorities in the region.”
Furthermore, senior administration officials said, “Dr Biden’s engagements focused on the empowerment of women and youth, efforts to address drought and food insecurity, and promoting our shared democratic values. The visit followed the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit late last year where Dr. Biden hosted a two-day spousal program. This was Dr Biden’s first visit to Namibia and third visit to Kenya.”
Pearl Matibe is a Washington, DC-based White House Correspondent, and media commentator with expertise in U.S. foreign policy and international security.
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