|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
September 21, 2006
Mrs. Bush's Remarks at the Launch of a Website on Pakistani Culture
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
10:37 A.M. EDT
MRS. BUSH: Thank you, Michael. Michael is doing a terrific job -- you may not know this -- of taking the Kennedy Center worldwide. He has online chats with arts organizations all around the world, giving them the experiences and the expertise that he has here at the Kennedy Center. And it's such a really wonderful way for the United States to promote friendships with countries around the world.
And I'm so happy today to be here with Mrs. Musharraf to try to work to make sure the people of Pakistan and the people of the United States have a chance to get to understand each other and like each other.
Darrell Ayers is here, the Vice President for Education of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and I especially want to recognize Mr. Naeem Tahir, the Chief Executive Director of the Pakistan National Council of the Arts.
Students and teachers from Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Thomas Jefferson School of Science and Technology, and Archbishop Carroll High School, thank you all very much for joining us today.
And then in the crowd are very -- many ministers and distinguished guests from Pakistan and from the United States, and I want to welcome you, as well.
Thank you all for coming to help launch the "Gifts of the Indus: The Arts and Culture of Pakistan." I'm so delighted to be here with the First Lady of Pakistan, Mrs. Sehba Musharraf. Mrs. Musharraf cares deeply about education. In fact, she's devoted her career to education by being a teacher and a school principal. As First Lady, she's worked to improve education in Pakistan, and also the health of the people of Pakistan.
Mrs. Musharraf was with me Monday in New York at a White House Conference on Global Literacy. At the conference, we heard from panelists around the world talking about literacy programs in their countries. We heard from a Family Literacy Project in South Africa that teaches mothers to read so they can pass their literacy skills onto their children. We heard about Learning for Life, teachers in Afghanistan who teach women to read so that they can keep themselves and their families healthy. And we heard from a group from Brazil, AlfaSol, which teaches young people to read so they have the chance of getting good jobs.
Each of these programs show how investing in education helps governments fulfill their basic obligations to their citizens, improving opportunities for children and families, strengthening economies, and keeping their citizens in good health.
Investing in education is also vital for diplomacy, because, as with Pakistan and the United States, friendships and alliances are often built on a shared love for learning. Our countries are allied in the efforts to secure peace, and Pakistan and America also cooperate to advance knowledge in fields like energy, technology, and science.
Today, our countries are working together to increase our understanding of arts and cultures. One of the best ways the people of Pakistan and the United States can deepen our friendship is for the people of our countries to deepen their knowledge of each other's culture. Pakistan has a fascinating culture, dating back thousands of years. President Bush and I were privileged to enjoy some of Pakistan's artistic offerings on our trip there earlier this year. And that's when I came home and called Michael Kaiser and said, let's see if we can't let Americans know about the wonderful arts and culture of Pakistan.
So today, through the "Gifts of the Indus" website, millions of people around the world, especially students, can discover Pakistan's rich cultural heritage. As part of this partnership between the Kennedy Center and the Pakistan National Council on the Arts, visitors to the website can learn about Pakistani culture from a variety of teaching resources. These include a broad collection of videos about the people of Pakistan, their daily family life, and the diversity of Pakistan's arts -- from painting to calligraphy to miniatures to sculpture to poetry.
Thank you to the Kennedy Center and to the Pakistan National Council of the Arts for developing this initiative, and for your dedication to arts education. And thank you, Mrs. Musharraf for your commitment to strengthening our countries' friendships through art and culture.
Thank you all very much.
END 10:42 A.M. EDT