First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS) Michelle Obama is ready to par-tay in Beijing for Spring Break, coming to our fair city, some other place called Chengdu (total panda-hug side trip), and Xi’an from March 19-26, joined by First Mother In Law of the United States (FMILOTUS) Marian Robinson and the First Daughters of the United States (FDOTUS) Malia Obama and Sasha Obama.
The Obamas’ trip brings into focus FLOTUS’s commitment to education issues, and she will visit both a university (almost certainly Peking University/Beida) and a high school in Beijing and a high school in Chengdu, according to a statement from the First Lady’s office. It also keeps FDOTUS away from spring break festivities in Daytona Beach, where having the Secret Service around would be a super buzz-kill.
The trip sans Barack could be seen as a make-up for what was seen as a snub of Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Peng Liyuan when the couple visited California in June 2013. That lost opportunity disappointed many: Women’s Wear Daily set was going to have a field day comparing the two’s outfits, and wondering if Obama would take Peng to Target, where she is so fond of saying she shops.
FLOTUS already has a web page set up for the trip, and students on both sides of the Pacific are encouraged to follow along.
The United States is the number one destination for Chinese students studying abroad, and China is number five for American students going overseas. Would be interesting to see if FLOTUS and FDOTUS meet any of the US students in China on programs like Americans Promoting Study Abroad, providing language-study scholarships to urban students who might otherwise not have such opportunities.
This post first appeared on thebeijinger on March 4, 2014.