Michelle Obama’s plea for education


This is my first trip, my first foreign trip as a first lady. Can you believe that? (Applause) And while this is not my first visit to the U.K., I have to say that I am glad that this is my first official visit. The special relationship between the United States and the U.K. is based not only on the relationship between governments, but the common language and the values that we share, and I’m reminded of that by watching you all today. During my visit I’ve been especially honored to meet some of Britain’s most extraordinary women — women who are paving the way for all of you. And I’m honored to meet you, the future leaders of Great Britain and this world. And although the circumstances of our lives may seem very distant, with me standing here as the First Lady of the United States of America, and you, just getting through school, I want you to know that we have very much in common. For nothing in my life’s path would have predicted that I’d be standing here as the first African-American First Lady of the United States of America. There is nothing in my story that would land me here. I wasn’t raised with wealth or resources or any social standing to speak of. I was raised on the South Side of Chicago. That’s the real part of Chicago. And I was the product of a working-class community. My father was a city worker all of his life, and my mother was a stay-at-home mom. And she stayed at home to take care of me and my older brother. Neither of them attended university. My dad was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the prime of his life. But even as it got harder for him to walk and get dressed in the morning — I saw him struggle more and more — my father never complained about his struggle. He was grateful for what he had. He just woke up a little earlier and worked a little harder. And my brother and I were raised with all that you really need: love, strong values and a belief that with a good education and a whole lot of hard work, that there was nothing that we could not do. I am an example of what’s possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by the people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life: grandmothers, teachers, aunts, cousins, neighbors, who taught me about quiet strength and dignity. And my mother, the most important role model in my life, who lives with us at the White House and helps to care for our two little daughters, Malia and Sasha. She’s an active presence in their lives, as well as mine, and is instilling in them the same values that she taught me and my brother: things like compassion, and integrity, and confidence, and perseverance — all of that wrapped up in an unconditional love that only a grandmother can give. I was also fortunate enough to be cherished and encouraged by some strong male role models as well, including my father, my brother, uncles and grandfathers. The men in my life taught me some important things, as well. They taught me about what a respectful relationship should look like between men and women. They taught me about what a strong marriage feels like: that it’s built on faith and commitment and an admiration for each other’s unique gifts. They taught me about what it means to be a father and to raise a family. And not only to invest in your own home but to reach out and help raise kids in the broader community. And these were the same qualities that I looked for in my own husband, Barack Obama. And when we first met, one of the things that I remember is that he took me out on a date. And his date was to go with him to a community meeting. (Laughter) I know, how romantic. (Laughter) But when we met, Barack was a community organizer. He worked, helping people to find jobs and to try to bring resources into struggling neighborhoods. As he talked to the residents in that community center, he talked about two concepts. He talked about “the world as it is” and “the world as it should be.” And I talked about this throughout the entire campaign. What he said, that all too often, is that we accept the distance between those two ideas. And sometimes we settle for the world as it is, even when it doesn’t reflect our values and aspirations. But Barack reminded us on that day, all of us in that room, that we all know what our world should look like. We know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. We all know. And he urged the people in that meeting, in that community, to devote themselves to closing the gap between those two ideas, to work together to try to make the world as it is and the world as it should be, one and the same. And I think about that today because I am reminded and convinced that all of you in this school are very important parts of closing that gap. You are the women who will build the world as it should be. You’re going to write the next chapter in history. Not just for yourselves, but for your generation and generations to come. And that’s why getting a good education is so important. That’s why all of this that you’re going through — the ups and the downs, the teachers that you love and the teachers that you don’t — why it’s so important. Because communities and countries and ultimately the world are only as strong as the health of their women. And that’s important to keep in mind. Part of that health includes an outstanding education. The difference between a struggling family and a healthy one is often the presence of an empowered woman or women at the center of that family. The difference between a broken community and a thriving one is often the healthy respect between men and women who appreciate the contributions each other makes to society. The difference between a languishing nation and one that will flourish is the recognition that we need equal access to education for both boys and girls. And this school, named after the U.K.’s first female doctor, and the surrounding buildings named for Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, Mary Seacole, the Jamaican nurse known as the “black Florence Nightingale,” and the English author, Emily Bronte, honor women who fought sexism, racism and ignorance, to pursue their passions to feed their own souls. They allowed for no obstacles. As the sign said back there, “without limitations.” They knew no other way to live than to follow their dreams. And having done so, these women moved many obstacles. And they opened many new doors for millions of female doctors and nurses and artists and authors, all of whom have followed them. And by getting a good education, you too can control your own destiny. Please remember that. If you want to know the reason why I’m standing here, it’s because of education. I never cut class. Sorry, I don’t know if anybody is cutting class. I never did it. I loved getting As. I liked being smart. I liked being on time. I liked getting my work done. I thought being smart was cooler than anything in the world. And you too, with these same values, can control your own destiny. You too can pave the way. You too can realize your dreams, and then your job is to reach back and to help someone just like you do the same thing. History proves that it doesn’t matter whether you come from a council estate or a country estate. Your success will be determined by your own fortitude, your own confidence, your own individual hard work. That is true. That is the reality of the world that we live in. You now have control over your own destiny. And it won’t be easy — that’s for sure. But you have everything you need. Everything you need to succeed, you already have, right here. My husband works in this big office. They call it the Oval Office. In the White House, there’s the desk that he sits at — it’s called the Resolute desk. It was built by the timber of Her Majesty’s Ship Resolute and given by Queen Victoria. It’s an enduring symbol of the friendship between our two nations. And its name, Resolute, is a reminder of the strength of character that’s required not only to lead a country, but to live a life of purpose, as well. And I hope in pursuing your dreams, you all remain resolute, that you go forward without limits, and that you use your talents — because there are many; we’ve seen them; it’s there — that you use them to create the world as it should be. Because we are counting on you. We are counting on every single one of you to be the very best that you can be. Because the world is big. And it’s full of challenges. And we need strong, smart, confident young women to stand up and take the reins. We know you can do it. We love you. Thank you so much. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Michelle Obama’s plea for education”

  1. Sorry but she is wasting her time – all these girls in the west want to grow up to marry sports men or be pop stars or some z list celebrity on a reality tv.

    MO should take her message to Asia and Africa they have their heads more screwed on and have strong familty values and a better work ethic

  2. The birth of America was pre-capitalism, and the playing field has very much changed since then. There is now an endowed ruling class whom are well buffered from public scrutiny, reproach and reprisal by the performing seals otherwise known as elected officials. These grey monarchs are extremely well organised in exerting and amassing power and wealth, and no congressman, court or commission is ever going to ruffle their feathers. These oligarchs are a new phenomenon and a new approach is needed

  3. yup you do and when people keep calling you a moron you better get yourself an education that's an advice and a favor

  4. I think you already explained why you are a moron.You have a prob.because she says she is the first African american standing where she is.well that's the truth, she also comes from a modest background.She is down there to empower women, to give them hope.Michelle is the most educated of all the first ladies.also every woman talks fondly of their husband,Jackie Kennedie also did although JFK only every slept with her twice.
    I like that she mentionned all the strong women regardless of the race

  5. Great to hear. Ill offer a contrary example. My mom is strong, independent and well meaning. She raised me alone until I could take over. She has schizophrenia but is not diagnosed, I learned recently. She indoctrinated me in the worst possible way, threatened me with hell, told me I would get raped in prison, attempted to suffocate me with an umbrella when I wasn't strong enough to fight off an adult. I was suicidal recently, but now Im making an effort to get back up on my feet. Its very hard.

  6. Kumpel,you are so right when yhou say if any other 1st lady had used the language it the story would have been different.Eleanor Rooselt,even Jackie K used a similar script.people are making michelle look like she is boasting about her intellect when in fact she is disclosing some real info.they find it difficult to be be proud of her because she is african american.The problem people have with her is definetely neurological .I am sitting here LMAO! at the comments

  7. If you are open to discussions on your draft proposals,
    public or private, I would be very pleased to be a part of that.

  8. Exactly, the education system gives the impression that imitation is the ultimate goal. That's why it's such a drag for intelligent and free-thinking people.

  9. stephenetienne – I agree with you that teachers need to be paid more, and that athletes and movie stars make more than necessary, but I'm doubtful that a pay increase will change anything.

    What needs to change is our value system and a closer examination of what's actually learned in schools – most of what is learned in school has nothing to do with academia but more to do with shaping and molding social identity.

    Take a look at John Taylor Gatto and the work he's published.

  10. I don't understand how this makes her part of the fraud. She understood the system is broken, wasn't in a position to fix it… so sent her kids to a private school. How is this at all inconsistent with her goals?

  11. I would send my kids to private school too but I'd also like to work on fixing the public education system as well – just like Michelle Obama.

  12. "'m sorry but that did nothing for me".
    too bad for you, but you are not my responsibility to educate im sure your country should accommodate you

  13. You'll educate people, just not people outside of your country. Those people are that country's responsibility. Hmm, okay. Cheers to everyone who doesn't think this way.

  14. Choice.. .to be an atheist…. that is laughable. What you believe in is not a choice. I don't believe in Jesus, Allah, etc not because I choose to, it's because I'm -forced- to due to there being zero good reasons for believing in these things. A world where I'm the fastest human being in the universe is a great belief, but even if I wanted to delude myself this way I don't have that ability.

  15. hahaha i was talking to another guy, what i meant was i'm sure his country can educate him since i i am not in the academic business, let him try enroll in a subject about government positions lol

  16. I think it will just take us two to solve the education crisis. What do you think about removing 8% of what we pay all professional athletes annually. A conservative estimate of this figure is easily in the billions. Lets throw those billions into public schools. The winners of the World Series will not be able to afford dozens of bottles of champagne that will be spilled all over their team mates however.. hmmm….. this is a problem.

  17. Pleading for education..Well who is in Charge of her husbands education and revenue stream? Education of the Obama's Zionist New World Temple, will we submit???

  18. I was just pointing out what empty rhetoric it is to say you were raised with values. Hitler had values, Stalin had values, Ghandi had values etc. If she pointed out what some of those values are then we can have a conversation. But the thing is, that everyone would not agree so the controversy would be politically compromising. This is why people who live in the public eye are destined to spit meaningless rhetoric. I didnt mean she was at all like hitler.

  19. Nope, I just find it kind of a double standard with a struggle for equality and then the sample behind her is not representative of all children.

    Thumb me down bitches.

  20. people label themselves too much
    why should you be ashemed because of choices one president made
    he doesnt represent you and you shouldnt be ashamed
    place of birth and skin color doesnt matter much
    its you ideas and who you are is what you should be judged for
    as long as people dont understand that there will always be unfair discrimination
    by race by origin by sex you name it
    :/

  21. teachers unions are horrible
    unions should be illegal
    if there are horrible working conditions then dont work there noone is making you

  22. you are not alone! i watch ted every weekday and am normally left with a feeling that i have learnt something but not today!

  23. I think that if we want to get our kids smarter we have to start from in the womb. i know that sounds crazy, but hear me out, i know this kid an he is without a doubt the best musician i have ever met, and hear this, his parents played music through the womb and then he started playing music when he was two, if we did that to all of our kids in different ways, we could make a smarter nation.

  24. I totally agree with you, Boris Brott, conductor mentioned to his mother he knew all the cello pieces, "that's because I was practicing them while I was pregnant with you". We absorb all from the moment of conception, including having the 100th monkey phenomena at work, what ever society has materialized, is like wise already in us, it just takes time to be activated, and our physical developemnd

  25. many people think that, yet it doesnt mean they are right.
    Becoming more socialistic never worked for the country that wants good economics in history
    why should it work now?
    Economics is a deceitful thing
    what works isnt always what people think works

  26. also zero incentives for being a good teacher. Also it is necessary that children have an appetite for learning sparked by their caretakers. No one is pushing children to learn

  27. She's so fake!

    1. you speak WAY too similarly to your husband
    2. I hate how she is speaking about herself as if "she's come a long way" and overcame adversity. That's bullshit. She didn't do anything. It's not like she became president or even earned a prestigious honor. She just sucked a politician's dick who happened to become president. Being first lady doesn't get accomplished thru hard work and education, it comes thru looks, charm, and luck.

    Aren't you late for a Glamor magazine shoot?

  28. You need counselling for all that hating dude.
    You've got someone looking to use her position to inspire and uplift others, and all you can do is hate?

  29. I doubt there's more than one at the TED talks. You could also just not click on the Obama-related ones, but still get to hear about everything else TED has to offer…

  30. She met Obama in her mid to late 20s. Before then, she was a cum laude Princeton Graduate, and a Harvard Law School J.D. working at a Law Firm. Since then, and before her husband became president, she's accomplished much. I wouldn't write her off as someone who "just married the right guy."

  31. if you studied history you would know that he gathered both Republicans and Democrats together and used a lot of ideas at once some of them horrible (burning food) some good
    The reason why there was GD is because of banks
    Also FDR helped in spirit more then with anything else he said "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" and its true fear ruins economy! He tried many things and some worked and ppl trusted him so they started spending helping econ a lot.

  32. It didnt help
    country be much better off without it!
    the other things he did helped
    not the social things

  33. message of hope is not socialistic
    its just a message
    it will have an impact and thats good but anybody can say the message
    and skip the ad hominems i think you should study history more
    and i will study history more i dont think there is ever enough
    anyways this country started out as very capitalistic and the more socialistic it got (and the more banking system got into gov.) the worse of it is
    US also was the land of freedom,its not anymore) ppl give up their freedom because they are scared

  34. I dont mind banking its the way its done that pisses me off…
    banks have too much power to multiply money
    I think its necessary to do it a little bit but too much causes unstable economy
    Fed should go to hell as well
    it wasnt there in the beggining and USA was doing fine
    If banks had more regulations at beginning there be no great depression and no reason to make many stupid laws (like burning food, its still going on till this day! Gov is paying money to farmers not to use land)

  35. Banks didnt print money! And FED prints money
    FED is also partially private its not owned by government like many people think. This allows for legal money manipulation which is horrible
    it never happened with first banks
    Banks also receive money from government so there is no competition and banks dont bankrupt (its people who should recieve the money and they should switch banks if their bank goes bankrupt) The situation is hopeless money isnt backed by anything nothing prohibits a crush

  36. Money was never backed by anything Really?
    do you know how money came to be? it use to be a note that you have that much gold stored! Money use to be backed by gold! IF money is not backed by anything then crushes can occur all the sudden people realize they want food and nobody wants money and a huge inflation occurs. Gold was valued because it takes work to get gold Gold represents work! And people like the way gold looks! Money is way overvalued! You can print it for cents and its worth a 100

  37. gold value does fluctuate but it wont fall below certain point because its actually work (unlike money) and im not for using gold as money
    im just saying that it could be used to back Money up (even if banks be forced to keep just 1/10 of the value of money in their banks as gold it would help to prevent crushes)
    We know that money can totally fail
    we dont know of any time in history that gold did
    right now money is just paper as soon as people will stop trusting it crush will occur

  38. gold value does fluctuate but it wont fall below certain point because its actually work (unlike money) and im not for using gold as money
    im just saying that it could be used to back Money up (even if banks be forced to keep just 1/10 of the value of money in their banks as gold it would help to prevent crushes)
    We know that money can totally fail
    we dont know of any time in history that gold did
    right now money is just paper as soon as people will stop trusting it crush will occur

  39. if comments post 2wice im sorry youtube doesnt post my comments and i dont know if they posted or not
    its so frustrating

  40. yea but that money has no value
    so its like keeping something that has no value anyways (or can loose value)
    Gold was there because it cannot completely loose value!
    still better then keeping nothing but as soon as money looses value the money in the bank looses value as well

  41. Im not saying change medium of exchange
    still use money just back it with something
    In economics market decides the value if the whole value is artificially pumped up because people expect other people to take it as payment
    then all the sudden people might want it less and less untill they dont want [email protected]
    in fact we know value of money fluctuates a lot government tries to prevent it but that causes stress and can cause a crush
    and if theres not enough resources the resource value will raise

  42. really Then how is it that when Germany printed lots of money they thought their life be honey
    but all the sudden their economy went down
    Even though they did have the same amount of physical resources!
    And second of all if money fails we are back to barter system and barter system is very inefficient and will make it impossible to buy things and sell them ruining economy! Even if there are physical resources

  43. yea i was just saying that they thought their problem will be solved by printing money
    And poor fiscal policies can lead to disasters
    like when you have communism
    and good fiscal policies can promote growth and prosperity
    you can never fully stop development unless you have war
    however you can hinder it greatly and cause starvation if you make bad decisions about your countries economics

  44. todays communistic countries are much more capitalistic then USSR was. And yes you can experience growth as a communistic country but it wont be as fast as a capitalistic country and it doesnt mean that there wont be starvation. And even if there is no hungry people you still are killing people that could be saved with the progress you make like invention of new medical equipment etc. People work much more efficiently when they are working for themselves

  45. if only hydrogen was cheaper it could be used as an effective alternative
    I also thought that its more potent but im not 100% sure on that

  46. well i think there could be growth with no oil just once oil would vanish and there be no alternatives at beginning it would take us back to the stone age and then slowly (very slowly) growth would start up again but yes that would be an economic disaster!
    And i never tried to say that communistic countries dont experience growth in fact i said "you can never fully stop development unless you have war" at least you cant stop it forever unless u have everlasting war.

  47. Never is such a long lasting word. But yes it probably wouldnt happen So if there ever is nuclear war that destroys most our technology our society is doomed,if not forever then at least for really really really long time. We dont know when the world will end we have some predictions but sun will explode some 5 billion years from now thats a long time(if we are right) and stone age was only some 35 thousands years ago 🙂
    Hopefully we will only go forward without backing up like during dark ages

  48. I wish she hadn't done the first bit in this talk… she's making out as if she worked SO HARD to become the first lady…

    She just married the right person

  49. I have no problem with her talking. I thought TED videos are suppose to be a TED events. Instead is it just based on what the TED people think would be nice to show. I thought this was a channel for their talks, not other people's no matter how nice they are.

  50. I have no respect for Michelle at all, not since her Airforce 1 stunt over New York horrifying hundreds making them believe "Here we go again"

  51. Obama is a racist. finally we figure it out. doesnt matter if his black friend wfrom Harvard was wrong or not…the balck man is above that. a white cop was involved. I dont need to know anything but that Obama thinks…..that my friends….is racism.
    And THIS queen in the video is no better. Now she's proud of her america…what a joke

  52. TS Christian…you sitting in Wrights church too? matters it not…there will always be blind true believers like yourself who swallow the socialist kool-aid because you desperately need to believe….. like "clinging to your religion of hope and change" …..
    there will always be people like me to oppose you…because these two are RACISTS

  53. not only is Obama a racist….you by supporting his racism …are also racist!
    two and three word answers …mustve gone to public school in chicago, huh?…..but you…you phoney…calling on the name of CHRIST…as part of your name? …you….are dismissed.

  54. you look at his party afilliation…you look at his skin color….and ignore what he truly believes and says with his own words….how is calling race on a policeman doing his job bringing people together? He's a wedge dring people…Americans …apart…there's YOU….and there's ME…divided permenantly by the president of the united states of all people. This is NO DIFFERENT than the Germany of the 1930's. We are destined to repeat the same mistakes over and over….

  55. Agree with you up to 2 but not from 3 and below. She definitely is selling something but , the filters that the different listeners put on would mean your 3 and 4 would be completely different for everyone listening. for some the diversity would mean they can reach to that height, for others it would be well you had a father who worked hard so don't talk like we are in the same situation, and still some other will agree with your 3 etc… the same for 4. and the rest

  56. @derekchewie11 He just became president and now you are blaming him for a bad educational system that has been there for at least decades…

    I thought it takes more than one year to educate somebody!!
    This says a lot about your education level.

    Your argument is makes no sense and therefore should be avoided

  57. Take all your education seriously!! Just not the bits in your history class that tell you why socialism is better than capitalism.

  58. Shame on you. Obama is not a racist. That is cruel and has no place on TED. Obama is a black illuminati racing into the NWO. Scooping 7 trillion off the top and never creating one new job. Be proud be very proud. You all will witness the greatness that brings down the USA! This is history people.

  59. @gotaskor We were never supposed to be a Democracy. WE are supposed to be a Republic. Since the Dems took control of congress in 2006, it's been one screw up after another. The president is a figurehead, he does not have the final say on anything. Congress can override him by a 2/3 majority vote on an law or potential law. Democracy is FAR TOO LIBERAL and WAY TO TOLERANT of too many things that are just wrong!

  60. Where is the proof that Obama is illuminati? Please provide us with solid proof, otherwise your statement should be dismissed as scaremongering speculation. You are coming from a democratic country, privileged with the freedom of speech. Please prove to the rest of the world that this the best way forward by using it responsibly instead of abusing it with unfounded statements.

  61. I appreciated her message here nonetheless. I didn't come from a traditional family home, where my mum forced me to do well but broke my self-esteem on a daily basis. My stepdad couldn't help me as he was not well. The ones who really developed me constructively were a handful of teachers who believed in me. Watching her speech had made me, instead of being bitter about what I didn't have, realise I should look for a man who respects me and to be a supportive parent to my kids.

  62. Hmm, whilst the majority of people see this as a motivational speech for women, you think that she's trying to make you feel guilty. Can I ask why you think she is making you feel guilty of?

  63. Relax.. I make jokes. Still lots of videos made by his gay lover. Disturbing much! Lots of videos about him and his mom being CIA. Name change all that. Do not worry he will win again 100% guaranteed. He is a little like 9-11. In the first few years we all went along with the story. Now you have thousands of people and videos proving it wrong and a lie. You are blessed to be in a good mental and emotional state. Stay that way as long as you can. Ignore morons like me. Be at peace.

  64. She's a great woman to look up. A truly lady that is intelligent, full of values and creating an impacting in today's society.

  65. "Where you stand today is not a limiting factor to the heights you will rise to tomorrow" Mrs Obama said this at St.Xavier's college Mumbai and it blew my mind. The converse is also true; you can sink like a stone, paint yourself into a corner, shoot yourself in the foot by abusing the privileges your parents and nation afforded you.
    thank u, Mrs Obama, God bless

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