First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama appeared at this week’s U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) town hall meeting to recognize and give thanks to agency employees and the work they do on behalf of millions around the world.
Mrs. Obama enumerated the many difficult challenges facing our country and the world as a whole, including global hunger, climate change, natural disasters, and the fast-rising youth population. But in doing so, she spoke of the dedication and commitment demonstrated by USAID employees, from risking their safety working in dangerous environments, to spending long stretches of time away from family. She also referenced the two decades’ worth of development work in Indonesia her mother-in-law, President Obama’s mother, took part in while with USAID. “And you do it all,” she told the audience, “because you believe in the power of development to make America stronger in the world and improve the lives of those less fortunate.”
She listed improved basic health, sustainable agriculture, and democracy and human rights as major advances over the years as a result of USAID’s efforts. She highlighted ongoing work in Haiti as a shining example, saying “…wherever I went, I was amazed and incredibly touched to hear the stories of your sacrifice and your compassion and your amazing partnership with the Haitian people and folks around the world in the aftermath of that disaster. It was clear from my visit that people valued the work and saw this country in a different way because of the work that you were doing.”