This post is part of a series authored by First Lady Michelle Obama to share her visit to Japan and Cambodia and the Let Girls Learn initiative with young people in the U.S.

I arrived in Tokyo, Japan last night, and this morning, I was proud to stand with Mrs. Akie Abe, the wife of Japan’s Prime Minister, as we announced a new partnership between Japan and the United States that will help girls around the world go to school.

It’s not surprising that America and Japan are coming together on this issue.

Mrs. Abe and I are both passionate about girls’ education — as are our husbands — and Japan is one of America’s strongest and most important allies. Japan and the United States also share so many values. We are both democracies and believe strongly in freedom of speech and religion and protecting the basic rights of all our citizens. Both our countries care deeply about education. And both America and Japan believe in helping other countries that have fewer resources — countries where people struggle with poverty and disease and where many young people, particularly girls, don’t have the chance to attend school.

As part of our new partnership, both Japan and the U.S. will be investing in programs that will help girls around the world get an education. As I mentioned in my opening post, here in the U.S., this effort is called Let Girls Learn, and it features a new girls’ education initiative run by the Peace Corps.

First Lady Michelle Obama is joined by Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and Akie Abe, the First Lady of Japan, during a “Let Girls Learn” announcement held at the Iikura Guest House in Tokyo, Japan on March 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

The Peace Corps is a government program through which Americans can sign up to volunteer for about two years in countries across the globe. Peace Corps volunteers live and work in the communities they serve, and they do all sorts of projects — from working at public health clinics, to helping farmers grow more crops, to teaching in local schools and after school programs.

Through Let Girls Learn, the Peace Corps will eventually be training all of its nearly 7,000 volunteers in girls’ education issues.

Hundreds of these volunteers will then work side-by-side with local leaders, teachers, families and girls themselves to come up with solutions to the problems that are keeping girls out of school. They will be working together to start tutoring and mentoring programs, leadership camps and more.

That’s really how Peace Corps volunteers approach their work — not by coming into communities and acting like they have all the answers, because they don’t, but by working with, and learning from, the people they serve. That’s how they can come to understand the barriers girls face in getting an education — and how they can help address those barriers.
Does this kind of work sound exciting to you? If so, you should consider joining the Peace Corps — you can check out their website right now to learn more. But you don’t have to travel across the globe to serve others. You can learn about, and help support, Let Girls Learn projects worldwide from right here at home — just go to LetGirlsLearn.PeaceCorps.Gov. You can also make a difference right now by tutoring a classmate, or reading to a younger sibling, or volunteering through your school or place of worship. There are so many ways to help others, and I hope learning about how Peace Corps volunteers serve communities abroad will inspire you to give back in your own community here at home.

First Lady Michelle Obama listens during a “Let Girls Learn” announcement held at the Iikura Guest House in Tokyo, Japan on March 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
Students look on as First Lady Michelle Obama, Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and Akie Abe, the First Lady of Japan, participate in a “Let Girls Learn” announcement held at the Iikura Guest House in Tokyo, Japan on March 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama, is joined by Akie Abe, the First Lady of Japan, and Ambassador Caroline Kennedy during a discussion with students following the “Let Girls Learn” announcement held at the Iikura Guest House in Tokyo, Japan on March 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama greets students following the “Let Girls Learn” announcement held at the Iikura Guest House in Tokyo, Japan on March 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama greets the Emperor and Empress of Japan at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan on March 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a courtesy call held at Kantei in Tokyo, Japan on March 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama and Michelle Phan tape a “Let Girls Learn Video” in the studio at the American Embassy in Tokyo, Japan on March 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama and Ambassador Caroline Kennedy visit with families at the American Embassy in Tokyo, Japan on March 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama and Ambassador Caroline Kennedy deliver remarks at the American Embassy in Tokyo, Japan on March 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama greets families at the American Embassy in Tokyo, Japan on March 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
First Lady Michelle Obama reads a student’s essay while signing autographs at the American Embassy in Tokyo, Japan on March 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

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