Laura W. Bush, First Lady of the United States (2001-2009), is actively involved in issues of national and global concern, with a particular emphasis on education, health care and human rights. During her time as First Lady of the United States and Texas she used her unique perspective and influence to further a wide range of educational endeavors and continues supporting this work.
She is the Honorary Ambassador for the United Nations Literacy Decade, an effort to raise awareness and support for global literacy for children and adults.
Mrs. Bush has long championed programs for early childhood education, at-risk youth, global literacy and preservation of national parks and heritage sites.
Ten years ago, she joined the Library of Congress to launch the first National Book Festival. The event has grown each year, with more than 150,000 book lovers attending last year’s festival. In 2006, Mrs. Bush hosted an international array of leaders for the White House Conference on Advancing Global Literacy, showcasing successful, culturally aware literacy programs from around the world.
As First Lady of the United States (2001-2009), she had the opportunity to visit more than 76 nations and see firsthand many of their education systems. Among those trips was one to Afghanistan in 2005, during which she saw the progress achieved by the Afghan people after the fall of the Taliban. She visited the Women’s Teacher Training Institute in Kabul, where women train to lead classrooms once forbidden to girls. She has also visited countries such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Panama, helping to launch groundbreaking educational and health-care advances for women.
Her memoir, “Spoken From the Heart,” topped the New York Times bestseller list for several weeks after its release in May 2010.