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Michelle Obama meets students in Siem Reap

Michelle Obama and Bun Rany
First lady of the United States Michelle Obama and Cambodian first lady, Bun Rany, greet students at a high school in Siem Reap province on Saturday morning. Photo by Ethan Harfenist.

Michelle Obama meets students in Siem Reap

First lady of the United States Michelle Obama implored a group of young female Cambodian students on Saturday morning to follow her lead and stand up against forces holding back their ambitions to strive for an education.

During the first stop on her visit to Siem Reap, home of Angkor Wat, Obama listened to a group of 10 girls explain hardships they faced, such as having to balance work with school, and pushed them to push against the odds.

"People told me I wasn't smart enough for college, law school. I ignored them. You must too," she told the students at Hun Sen Prasat Bakong high school in Siem Reap.

"I have two daughters your age; good to know women halfway around the world are just as smart and capable."

Obama was flanked by Cambodian first lady Bun Rany, wife of the country's long ruling prime minister, Hun Sen, and was promoting the Let Girls Learn initiative that is a focus of her trip.

Through an interpreter, Obama and Bun Rany discussed the importance of women's education, with the latter stressing that girls need to know that they don't just have to stay in the kitchen.

Children carrying US and Cambodian flags escorted Obama and Bun Rany to the school, where one girl presented her with an original poem as a greeting.

Follow @phnompenhpost on Twitter as we livetweet US first lady Michelle Obama's visit to Siem Reap

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