The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
October 24, 2007

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at English Access Micro Scholarship Recruitment Event
Ministry of Education Training Facility
Kuwait City, Kuwait

MRS. BUSH: Thank you very much, Minister. Appreciate it very much. I actually wish we could hear more students, and I know a few more students are prepared, I think, with speeches. So I'm going to cut my speech short in hopes that we can hear from a few more students.

But thank you very much, Your Excellency, and thank you for what you're doing to improve education for the students of Kuwait. I want to recognize our Charg , Alan Misenheimer, who's here with me today, and of course, Maureen Aldakheel, the AMIDEAST Country Director. Thank you for everything you've done, and maybe in a minute you can come pick out another couple of students. I think I see some papers in front of them and think they're prepared.

I also want to thank Abla Abdullah Al-Essa, the Training and Development Manager from the Ministry of Education. And thanks especially to the students, the three students who've spoken to us first. Your English is excellent. It seems to have sort of an English accent, though -- not so American, but it's very good. (Laughter.)

I wonder if there are any of your teachers here. Are there any of the teachers here? Would you all stand, the teachers? (Applause.) Thank you all very much. I can tell you've made all of these lessons fun for these students and made it -- their activities something that really are meaningful and something they'll remember. And so thank you very much about that.

These students that have talked to us are just two of the many bright and ambitious young people who benefit from the U.S. State Department's English Access Micro Scholarship program. English has become a common global language, in fields from science and technology to diplomacy and business. By helping students in the Middle East and in other regions improve their skills in English, micro scholarships equip young people to compete for better jobs, achieve higher degrees, and compete for scholarships in universities around the world.

In addition to language instruction, these micro scholarships support students as they learn about American culture and democratic values. With this education, students in Kuwait and in other participating nations become more competitive to study-abroad exchanges with the United States. And at the same time, these young people become better prepared to contribute to social and economic development in their home countries.

The English Access Micro Scholarship program is just one of the many leadership development projects supported by the United States Department's Middle East Partnership Initiative. President Bush launched the Partnership Initiative to improve education, to foster democratic ideals, to stimulate economic growth, and to empower women across the Middle East. In just four years, the Middle East Partnership Initiative has started more than 350 programs in 15 countries -- programs that are improving lives throughout the Arab world.

And let me just say, this is the only education stop I'm going to do on this trip. I've been already to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, now to Kuwait, and tomorrow I'll go to Jordan. And in the other three countries, I've been talking about breast cancer, which is also one of the Middle East Partnership initiatives. It's an initiative to partner cancer hospitals in the United States with cancer hospitals here in the Gulf area, to do research to find out why there's a higher incidence of breast cancer at a younger age across the Middle East. And so that's also -- even though Kuwait is not one of the partnership countries in that, I hope it's something that the people of Kuwait will also work on and get the word out to women about screening to make sure if you do have breast cancer that you find out very early when it's easily treatable.

I'm hoping to quit right now, quit talking, so I can let at least one more student tell us their story, because I loved hearing from each of them.

I just want to say one thing: This is not my first visit to Kuwait. It is my first visit since my husband has been President. But in 1993, I was fortunate to come with President George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, when he came -- (applause) -- when he came to Kuwait, and that was a very moving and wonderful visit for him and for me. And I was so proud of him, my father-in-law, and very happy that I had that chance to accompany him then.

So thank you all so much. I'm very, very happy to be here. And let's hear from one more student. (Applause.)

END 4:44 P.M. (Local)

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