First Lady Pool Reports of June 5, 2023

June 05, 2023

Pool Reports by Nadia Bilbassy, Alarabiya

Sent: Reports:
June 5, 2023
15:23 WEST

FLOTUS Pool #1 Marrakech-Lisbon

The motorcade arrived at 12:45 pm, we drove through citrus lined trees of the city of Marakesh to FLOTUS's destination of Ibin Al Arif Middle School .

The first event was an open air classroom called the Robotic club. Students split into different groups both boys and girls demonstrated to the First lady their own projects aimed at developing their stem skills , few spoke English, the class was conducted in French . One of the students had a toy truck operated by remote control displayed on the floor on the classroom in front of FLOTUS.

Dr Biden paid special attention to female students praising their skills and interests in technology and explaining her background as an educator.

She turned one laptop around to face the cameras to show the students's project to the pool press and asked if they have questions for the students.

The school receives funds from the Millennium Challange Cooperation aimed at improving the quality of education in Morroco.

One of the students asked her to sign a placard which read "Welcome Dr Biden" in Arabic, Amazigh and English. She exchanged few questions and answers with the students, she was very attentive and engaging.

The next stop at the same school was an English classroom, another mixed class of boys and girls, the students were learning English, with headphones and written words of a song on their laptops.

The students were too shy to sing it , Anthony Bernal, senior Advisor to the First Lady played the song (Count on Me) loud on his phone and FLOTUS asked everyone to join including the press and the staff. Success! Kids were encouraged, they sang along.

Dr Biden asked the kids if they visited the United States and who are their best friends. The first answer was no, second was their moms, parents and classmates.

The students asked her about her visit to Morocco, she listed what she did during the trip and said it "It was amazing."

The third stop at the school was a folkloric dance performed by the students, one student danced in the middle of the group on the beating sounds of a drum, others were clapping and waving Morocco flags.

Finally the Firsy Lady stepped in and took a group picture with all the students before heading to the airport.

At the airport she was greeted by the same Royal Guards dressed in an immaculate white traditional attire as she walked on the red carpet.

She said goodbye to the US ambassador and his wife and to the Moroccan Chief of Protocol before embarking on the last leg of the tour to Lisbon.

Flight time is around 1:30 minutes. This will conclude her visit to the Middle East. She visited Jordan, Egypt and Morocco.

Next report is from Lisbon, Portugal.


Background from her office:

Marrakech, Morocco: Visit to Ibn Al Arif Middle School

In the afternoon, the First Lady will visit Ibn Al Arif Middle School in Marrakech, Morocco to highlight the longstanding partnership between the United States Government and the Kingdom of Morocco to support education through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). Ibn Al Arif Middle School is one of 90 secondary schools across three regions of Morocco (Marrakech-Safi, Fès-Meknès, and Tanger-Tétouan-Al Hoceima) that received funds over multiple years through a Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) program aimed at improving the quality of secondary education through investments in technology and extracurricular equipment, teacher training, targeted infrastructure improvements, and reform of school governance.

During this visit, the First Lady will meet with Moroccan students and educators, and hear about the impact the MCC program has had on the school's quality of education and ability to prepare its students for the workforce. The First Lady will engage with students who participate in the following school programming:

  • Robotics Club: To ensure secondary schools have access to the latest technology to improve learning, the MCC program invested in both IT equipment, such as laptops, and robotics equipment for students and teachers. Through the robotics club, students develop STEM skills by learning to code and program robots. This new equipment has enabled students to participate in national robotics competitions.
  • English Language Program: Before the MCC program, students studying English used textbooks and basic learning equipment. The MCC program provided up-to-date equipment including laptops, projectors, speakers, and video screens. This equipment improved educational lessons by enabling visual learning mechanisms for students, including videos, songs, and games. Teachers also benefitted from new training modules, including facilitation of extracurricular clubs, languages, technology, and gender and social inclusion.

During the visit, the First Lady will be joined by:

  • Ambassador Puneet Talwar, U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco
  • Chakib Benmoussa, Minister of National Education, Preschool, and Sports of Morocco
  • Moulay Ahmed Al-Karimi, Director of the Regional Academy of Education and Training of the Marrakech-Safi Region
  • Carrie Monahan, Resident Director of MCC in Morocco
  • Karim Kassi-Lahlou, Wali of the Marrakech-Safi Region, Governor of the Prefecture of Marrakech
  • Malika Laasri, Director General of the Millennium Challenge Account Morocco
  • Rachid El Fouadi, Ibn Al Arif Middle School Director
  • Hicham Aboud, Life Science Teacher, Ibn Al Arif Middle School
  • Karima El Otmani, English Teacher, Ibn Al Arif Middle School

Departure to Lisbon, Portugal

In the afternoon, the First Lady will depart Marrakech, Morocco for Lisbon, Portugal. This departure will be covered by the traveling print pooler.

June 5, 2023
17:27 WEST

FLOTUS Pool #2: Lisbon, Portugal

Plane touched down at Lisbon airport after a short flight at 3:50 PM, FLOTUS emerged from the plane to the tarmac on a beautiful sunny day wearing a beige two piece suit.

She was greeted by U.S. Ambassador to Portugal Randi Levine, Deputy Chief of Protocol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jose Arsenio, and few other officials. Full list of greeters is below .

She was presented with a bouquet of yellow and pink flowers, after a short greet, we were loaded into the vans and whisked to the venue of the Catholic University where the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the U.S. State Department's Art in Embassies program was in full swing.

The event took place in a big theater with a huge screen. The stage has three chairs, and a podium with three flags in display, the US, Portugal and the Catholic University.

There were around 400 guests including students, diplomats, curators, artists, academics and educators.

The time on the ground was very short, I will send more details about FLOTUS's speech in my next report, we were rushed to join the motorcade and on to our way to the airport again to take the flight back to DC at 5:05 pm.

At the tarmac, she was received by few officials, she walked towards the advance team and thanked them personally and took a photo with them.

We are wheeling up shortly .

From First Lady's Office:

Arrival in Lisbon, Portugal

In the afternoon, the First Lady will arrive in Lisbon, Portugal. This arrival will be pooled press.

The First Lady will be greeted by:

  • José Arsénio, Deputy Chief of Protocol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Colonel Abel Duarte de Oliveira, Commander of Air Transit Field No. 1, AT1, Portuguese Air Force Base
  • João Ricardo Mendes, Advisor for International Relations to the President of the Portuguese Republic
  • Paulo Rodrigues, Assistant Protocol Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Ambassador Randi Charno Levine, U.S. Ambassador to the Portuguese Republic
  • Rebecca Neff, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy Lisbon
  • Jennifer Whetstone, Defense Attaché, U.S. Embassy Lisbon Colonel

Lisbon, Portugal: Art in Embassies Event

In the afternoon, the First Lady will join the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Department of State's Art in Embassies celebration to highlight the important role of the arts in U.S. cultural diplomacy efforts around the world. The First Lady will deliver remarks at the Catholic University of Portugal to students, educators, academia professionals, artists, and curators. This event will be pooled press.

Speaking program:

  • Ambassador Randi Charno Levine, U.S. Ambassador to the Portuguese Republic
  • Megan Beyer, Director and Curator of the 60th Anniversary of the Art in Embassies
  • Isabel Gil, Rector, Catholic University of Portugal
  • First Lady Jill Biden

About the 60th Anniversary of the Art in Embassies
For the 60th anniversary of the Art in Embassies (AIE) program in 2023, the U.S Embassy will bring a number of iconic American artists to Lisbon for a series of workshops, panel discussions, and public events on the role of the visual arts in furthering diplomacy. AIE has helped further U.S. diplomacy through their mission of cross-cultural dialogue through the visual arts and artist exchanges, for nearly six decades. By providing works of art from preeminent American artists for display at U.S. diplomatic facilities around the globe, AIE helps showcase the culture, history, and values of the United States, as seen through the eyes of the American people. The Museum of Modern Art first envisioned this global visual arts program in 1953, and President John F. Kennedy formalized it at the U.S. Department of State in 1963.

Today, the office of Art in Embassies in the U.S. Department of State engages over 20,000 participants globally, including artists, museums, galleries, universities, and private collectors. It encompasses over 200 venues in 189 countries. For more information on the Art in Embassies program:

Departure to Washington, D.C.
In the evening, the First Lady will depart Lisbon, Portugal for Washington, D.C. This departure will be covered by the traveling print pooler.

June 5, 2023
20:49 EDT

FLOTUS Pool #3 Lisbon -DC

Plane touched down at 7:50 pm local time , unfortunately we had no Wi-Fi on board, I was unable to download quotes from FLOTUS’s speech at the Art in Embassies celebration , however the White House had already posted it during our flight:

Here is the link :

Also, the lady who introduced Dr Biden was Ambassador Randi Levine , and the MC was Megan Beyer.

The flight from Lisbon to DC was almost 8 hours . FLOTUS disembarked at JBA , her daughter Ashley and her sister Bonny Jacobs accompanied her on the entire trip.

The First Lady walked down the steps of the plane at 7:58 pm , she shook hands with people on the ground and walked away from the plane to where I was standing and shook my hands and thanked me too .

We are rolling now to the White House South Lawn , our final stop.

It has been my pleasure to be your only print pooler on this trip, at times it was exhausting especially when we had to run in sweltering heat to catch up with the motorcade and suffer sleep deprivation but it was an exciting and enjoyable trip. Should you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me .

Have a good evening and a restful night everyone .

Jill Biden, First Lady Pool Reports of June 5, 2023 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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