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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
September 22, 2008

Closing Remarks by Mrs. Bush at the White House Symposium on Advancing Global Literacy: Building a Foundation for Freedom
Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, New York

12:11 P.M. EDT

MRS. BUSH: Thank you very much, Director Matsuura. Thank you for your very strong leadership on this issue that's so important for every person worldwide.

I want to especially thank all our panelists, the people who hosted the regional conferences. Thank you for sharing what happened at those conferences. And then to the two directors of LIFE and LAMP -- thank you for your good work and for telling us about what you're working on.

I also want to thank Director Matsuura for asking me to continue as the Honorary Ambassador through 2012. Thank you very much for that. (Applause.)

My life's work has been dedicated to promoting the written word. As you all know, I was a teacher and a librarian, and my happiest pastime is reading. So this will be really fun and an interesting way in retirement for me to continue working on this issue that's been important to me my whole life.

I look forward to continuing to work with each of you after George and I leave the White House. We'll be going home to our home state of Texas. And so I hope to continue to work with you as you promote literacy in each of your home countries.

I've seen how our efforts to reduce illiteracy are making a difference in nations around the world, and I look forward to continuing this work with each one of you.

We need to continue, just like Director Matsuura said, to insist that governments and private sector institutions invest in ending illiteracy. And we all need to rededicate ourselves to reaching out to the populations that are most in need, including children without access to schools and families who are displaced by violence.

The conversations that we've had here in New York are a good start. Thank you very much to every one of the speakers. I look forward to my work with all of you in the years ahead.

Now, it's my pleasure to invite you to the Temple of Dendur for lunch and for entertainment.

Thank you all very, very much. Thank you all. (Applause.)

END 12:13 P.M. EDT

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