Good education helped US First Lady get where she is

Good education helped US First Lady get where she is

BEIJING — United States First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday told Chinese professors, students and parents that she would not have risen to where she is if her parents had not pushed her to get a good education.



BEIJING — United States First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday told Chinese professors, students and parents that she would not have risen to where she is if her parents had not pushed her to get a good education.

Mrs Obama made her comments before hosting a discussion on education on the third day of a week-long visit to the country aimed at promoting educational exchanges between the US and China. She also walked a section of the Great Wall with her two daughters.

“Education is an important focus for me. It’s personal, because I wouldn’t be where I am today without my parents investing and pushing me to get a good education,’’ the First Lady said. “My parents were not educated themselves, but one of the things they understood was that my brother and I needed that foundation.’’

She said she and her husband, President Barack Obama, wanted as many young people as possible in the US and the world to have access to education.

Mrs Obama then hosted a roundtable with a handful of Chinese professors, students and parents at an event at the American Embassy in Beijing, which was attended by new US Ambassador to China Max Baucus but was closed to the media.

In the afternoon, Mrs Obama, her mother and her daughters visited a section of the Great Wall in the northern Beijing suburbs. She and her daughters Malia, 15, and Sasha, 12, were given time alone to walk on the wall.

On Saturday, Mrs Obama gave a 15-minute speech at China’s prestigious Peking University, in which she promoted the free flow of information and freedom of speech — the only time during her trip that she has brought up a contentious issue. China routinely filters out information deemed offensive by the government and silences dissenting voices.

The First Lady said the free flow of information was crucial “because that’s how we discover truth, that’s how we learn what’s really happening in our communities and our country and our world”.

These remarks, while absent from China’s state media, were circulated in social media, where they were widely praised.

The remarks have not drawn strong protest because her speech had focused mainly on the value of educational exchanges. Mrs Obama also told the audience that study abroad programmes were a vital part of America’s foreign policy.

The trip, the first time a US President’s wife has independently visited China, has also given Mrs Obama an opportunity to engage with President Xi Jinping’s wife, Madam Peng Liyuan, who has broken the mould of reticent Chinese First Ladies in recent decades. On Friday, the two First Ladies toured a Beijing high school, where Mrs Obama tried her hand at calligraphy and table tennis and visited students who had built robots.

Mrs Obama also met Mr Xi on Friday evening. The meeting, though not unexpected, was not originally part of the itinerary for her seven-day, three-city trip to China, and was a sign that the leaders of the two countries are seeking to build stronger personal bonds. Mr Xi said he cherished the “personal friendship’’ he has established with Mr Obama, and the First Lady thanked him for his hospitality.

Mrs Obama is due to fly today to Xi’an, home to the famous Terracotta Army. She will also visit a panda breeding facility outside Chengdu in the south-west before departing for the US on Wednesday. AGENCIES


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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