Michelle Obama: Hugger-in-chief Grabs the Glory
While most eyes were on the leaders at the G20 Summit this past week, mine were on First Lady Michelle Obama, wondering how she would hold up to all the pressure of this important first visit to Europe. With all the hype of the media, who wouldn't be nervous?
I am so pleased that the trip has gone well for her, so much so that the whole world seems to be in awe of her. And why wouldn't they be? She carries herself with style, dignity and class. She's an intelligent woman and can bring hope and inspiration to any young woman around the globe.
I really don't go for the comparisons of her and Jackie O, Lady Di, or of her presence and style to Carla Bruni's - she's her own unique self, as it should be.
Here are some excerpts from media around the world on the First Lady's visit that I found particularly interesting. I especially enjoyed watching her speech at London's Elizabeth Garrett Anderson school, the only speech she gave on her UK visit.
She came, she hugged, she conquered. Statuesque, poised, yet down-to-earth, Michelle Obama wowed Britain last week in a way that no American first lady has done since Jackie Kennedy’s visit in 1961.
For a lesson in how to empower young women, you could do no better than to listen to Michelle Obama's speech in its entirety. The news bulletins picked up its highlights, the point where, very close to tears, she said: "When I look at a performance like this, it just reminds me that there are diamonds like this all over the world. All of you are jewels. You are precious and you touch my heart. And it's important for the world to know that there are wonderful girls like you all over the world."
Her reception by world leaders and the European public has been exuberant, with ardent crowds gathering at every stop. Audience members at one event were so excited to get the hugs she was dispensing that Secret Service agents got a little nervous.
Smiling nicely, shaking hands and visiting sick patients -- the traditional job of a First Lady – is not nuclear physics. But Michelle’s easy informality, her ability to show emotion without sentimentality and her constant professionalism are essential qualities in a modern First Lady. It is her intellect that elevates the position to something more than just a model of spousal perfection.
A first lady, said one British writer this week, “communicates on the world stage by semaphore: a powerful, but mostly silent, symbol of her nation.” Michelle Obama is a natural, he said; she “charmed us all.”
"She is a natural and a very nice person," first lady Livia Klausova said of Mrs. Obama, to whom she presented a gift of Czech glassware. In return, she said, she got "a nice American vase."
She returned to Washington after the Prague events, saying, "It was a wonderful visit, but much too short, I'll be back."
The Huffington Post has a nice slideshow from a few weeks back on the First Lady sharing the love, before her overseas trip.
Please feel free to add your favorite pics of the First Lady's G20 Summit trip.
See also NP story: The Queen and Mrs. Obama: Did the First lady Break Protocol?
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States