First Lady of the United States
Married to President George W. Bush
Laura Bush is actively involved in issues of national
and global concern, with a particular emphasis on education, health care,
and human rights. In March 2005, Mrs. Bush made an historic trip to Afghanistan,
witnessing firsthand the inspirational progress achieved by the Afghan
people after the fall of the Taliban regime. She visited the Women's
Teacher Training Institute in Kabul, which is training women to lead
classrooms that girls were once forbidden to enter. She also met with
President Hamid Karzai and expressed America's continued support for
Afghanistan's new democracy, which ensures equal rights for women and
men. Mrs. Bush's involvement in Afghanistan began in 2001, when she became
the first wife of a president ever to deliver the president's weekly
radio address. She used the opportunity to call attention to the plight
of women suffering under the Taliban.
Mrs. Bush also speaks on behalf of public/private partnerships between
the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Project
Hope, and other private health care organizations that are equipping
and training pediatric health care professionals worldwide. She strongly
supports the initiative to build a National Children's Hospital in Iraq.
Laura Bush is Honorary Ambassador for the Decade of Literacy of the United
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), serving
as an international spokesperson for efforts to educate people throughout
the world, especially women and girls.
As the leader of President Bush's Helping America's Youth initiative,
Mrs. Bush is listening to the concerns of young people, parents, and
community leaders throughout the country and drawing attention to programs
that help children avoid risky behaviors like drug and alcohol use, early
sexual activity, and violence. She's highlighting the need of every child
to have a caring adult role model in his or her life - whether that adult
is a parent, grandparent, teacher, coach, or mentor.
One of Mrs. Bush's first priorities in the White House was to convene
the Summit on Early Childhood Cognitive Development. Prominent scholars
and educators shared research on the best ways for parents and caregivers
to prepare children for lifelong learning. Because children also need
excellent teachers, Mrs. Bush works with teacher recruitment programs
like Teach For America, The New Teacher Project, and Troops to Teachers.
Laura Bush is passionate about the importance and pleasures of reading,
and she joined with the Library of Congress to launch the first National
Book Festival in Washington, D.C., in September 2001. The 2004 National
Book Festival drew 85,000 book-lovers from across the nation.
In honor of her mother, a breast cancer survivor, Mrs. Bush supports
education campaigns for breast cancer and heart disease. She is a partner
with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in publicizing The
Heart Truth, which is that heart disease is the leading cause of death
among women in America. Mrs. Bush educates women about their risks and
emphasizes the importance of healthy eating, exercise, and preventive
A hiking and camping enthusiast, Mrs. Bush helped to start Preserve
America, a national initiative to protect our cultural and natural heritage.
She highlights preservation efforts across the country and encourages
Americans to get involved in preserving main streets, parks, and community
Laura Bush was born on November 4, 1946, in Midland, Texas, to Harold
and Jenna Welch. Inspired by her second grade teacher, she earned a bachelor
of science degree in education from Southern Methodist University in
1968. She taught in public schools in Dallas and Houston. In 1973, she
earned a master of library science degree from the University of Texas
and worked as a public school librarian. In 1977, she met and married
George Walker Bush. They are the parents of twin daughters, Barbara and
Jenna, who are named for their grandmothers.