Remarks by the First Lady at a Women's Empowerment Event at the Ennakhil Association in Marrakech, Morocco

June 04, 2023

[As prepared for delivery.]

Thank you, Manal. And thank you for using your music and your voice to empower young people in Morocco and our world.

Ambassador Talwar—Puneet—since Joe's time in the Senate, you've been such a great partner to him. Thank you to you and your amazing team for everything you do to continue building connections between Morocco and the United States.

I'm grateful to be joined by Wali Dardouri—and to see the Ennakhil Association up close.

Zakia, what you've created here is not only saving the lives of the survivors you help with counseling and skills training. You're also helping countless Moroccans whom you will never meet, whose lives are better because this organization has strengthened women's and disability rights, along with so many support systems. So thank you. And thank you to GiveDirectly and the other organizations here who are doing such important work.

I'm honored to join such an impressive and inspiring group today.

From soft lullabies to calls for justice, women nurse and nurture, teach and build, lead and dream our world forward—each and every day.

And while we have never been silent, women have been silenced. With violence. With hate, discrimination, and isolation. With work and care that is never done.

For many women around the world, simply raising their voice is a struggle. But here, with survivors and advocates, cooperative leaders and entrepreneurs, we are reminded that this sisterhood cannot be silenced.

We're reminded that when women come together to mentor and mend, to heal and hope, to tell our stories—we can rewrite the narratives of injustice and inequality. We can pen a future for all of us that is new and beautiful and bold.

When women earn money, we invest it in our families. When women are educated, they pass on that love of learning to their children. We become mentors and help others find success as well. We create jobs. When women have the ability to participate fully in society, we create more peaceful, stable places to live.

Empowered women power our communities. The United States understands that. We stand with women throughout the world. That's why USAID has invested in this space and so many of you here. We're proud to be your partner. But this isn't just about government-to-government relationships. It's people to people, heart to heart—and we want to work with you to help make our world better for everyone.

The United States is grateful for its longstanding partnership and friendship with Morocco. Under His Majesty King Mohammed the Sixth's leadership, Morocco is encouraging reforms to empower women and youth, reflecting our shared priorities.

Yesterday, Princess Lalla Hasna graciously met me at my arrival. And as we were getting to know each other, she told me about her work to educate children and young people about the importance of protecting our climate. I was inspired by her passion and I'm excited to take her story back to the United States, to look for more opportunities to learn from each other. Because our world is tied together in immeasurable ways—and that common ground is where the foundation of our shared future must be laid.

Some of you may know the peace activist Latifa Ibn Ziaten. A few years ago, she was given the International Women of Courage award by the United States for the work she began after her son was killed by a terrorist—efforts to support youth and end violence. And once, when she was asked for words of advice, she said this: "Dream about something beautiful…and when you pray, pray a prayer of peace; a prayer of love."

As I look around this room, I see that beautiful dream in you. I see how you've changed the world in big ways and small ones: A smile when someone needs it most. One hand taking another, saying without any words at all: I'm here. You're not alone.

When we come together as partners, we can begin to work against injustice. We can repair what's broken and build something new. We can be the arms of welcome, the hands of kindness. We can stand shoulder to shoulder, and lift each other when we fall. That is our prayer of peace. Our prayer of love.

So, thank you for giving one another, and me, hope. Thank you for lifting your voices and showing us how high women can rise.

And thank you for making your communities and your country stronger, every day.

Shukran bzaf.

Jill Biden, Remarks by the First Lady at a Women's Empowerment Event at the Ennakhil Association in Marrakech, Morocco Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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