Laura Bush

First Lady of the United States

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 screenings.

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 heritage treasures.

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.