First Lady Jill Biden Heading to Paris to Mark US Return to UNESCO

 First Lady Jill Biden Heading to Paris to Mark US Return to UNESCO


Jill Biden, the First Lady of the United States, is set to depart for Paris on Sunday. Her main objective is to attend a flag-raising ceremony at the UNESCO headquarters, signifying America’s return to the UN’s educational body after a nearly five-year absence. This move comes after the US officially rejoined UNESCO as the 194th member state on July 10, marking a reversal from the Trump administration’s withdrawal due to perceived “anti-Israel bias.”

As an educator herself, the First Lady’s trip is seen as a symbolic reconnection between the US and the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. The major event on her itinerary, which spans July 23-26, is to deliver remarks at the UNESCO Flag Raising Ceremony on Tuesday. Jill Biden will share the platform with UNESCO’s Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, during this ceremony.

The resumption of the US’s UNESCO membership is viewed by officials as a significant step in America’s renewed quest for enhanced international engagement. They believe that this re-engagement will fill a void in US multilateral leadership, prevent competitors from undermining its values, and remove any disadvantages the country may face.

"The United States is stronger, safer and more prosperous when we engage with the rest of the world, when we seek cooperation, collaboration and partnership," a senior US administration official told reporters last week. "So, by rejoining UNESCO, the United States underscores that message and restores our leadership in this vital international space."

Upon rejoining, the US aims to prioritize initiatives including Holocaust education, preservation of cultural heritage in Ukraine, journalist safety, and STEM education for women and girls in Africa. The US also plans to play a significant role in UNESCO’s work on artificial intelligence.

UNESCO has expressed that the First Lady’s presence will emphasize the importance the US places on promoting international understanding through the organization’s initiatives. Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO, has also stated that this renewed partnership would bolster financial support for the organization’s two strategic priorities: Africa and gender equality.

While in France, Jill Biden is also slated to meet with Brigitte Macron, the spouse of French President Emmanuel Macron, as reported by US officials.

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