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Monday, May 10, 2021

Michelle Obama arrives in Qatar for first official visit

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First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama
First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama

The First Lady of the United States arrived in Qatar last night to begin her first solo visit to the Middle East, which she will use to highlight her initiative for global girls’ education and visit American troops on a US base here.

Michelle Obama arrived at Hamad International Airport just before 7pm last night, and was welcomed by Ibrahim Yousif Abdullah Fakhro, director of protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

She was also received by Dana Shell Smith, US Ambassador to Qatar, and other dignitaries on a red carpet laid out on the airport tarmac.

Obama will be in Qatar for two days, during which she will speak at Qatar Foundation‘s World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) tomorrow, Nov. 4.

Education City students and staff have been advised to expect heavy traffic today and tomorrow, “due to a VVIP visit to the new QF-HQ and also QNCC,” according to a notice circulated by Northwestern University in Qatar.

It added: “Please allow extra time and flexibility for your travels.”

Girls’ education

Promoting her initiative Let Girls Learn, the first lady will give remarks that will follow QF Chairperson Sheikha Moza bint Nasser’s launch of the annual international education conference.

Comedian Conan O'Brien
Comedian Conan O’Brien

WISE attracts more than 1,000 education leaders from around, who gather to discuss ways to improve education globally, according to QF.

But before that, Obama will be accompanied by veteran US late night host Conan O’Brien tonight when she meets serving US military personnel at Qatar’s Al Udeid Air Base.

The visit is part of her Joining Forces initiative, set up to support current and former service personnel and their families.

Al Udeid is the forward headquarters for the US Central Command and the United States Air Force Central Command and is one of America’s largest outposts in the Middle East, with around 11,000 personnel based there.

After Qatar, Obama will travel to Jordan, where she will visit Amman and Petra.

The first lady will be blogging about her visit on her site here.

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