Gregoire-Trudeau, Michelle Obama team up to promote education for women, girls

By on March 10, 2016

Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau (left) and Michelle Obama (right) arrive at the U.S. Institute of Peace for Let Girls Learn initiative. (Photo: Connect to Canada | Twitter)
Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau (left) and Michelle Obama (right) promote education for girls and women through the Let Girls Learn initiative, headed by the US First Lady.
(Photo: Connect to Canada | Twitter)

WASHINGTON—The meeting of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama wasn’t the only mutual admiration society on display Thursday in Washington.

There was also, it would seem, a budding girl crush of sorts between Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau and Michelle Obama.

The presidential and prime ministerial spouses appeared to hit it off during Justin Trudeau’s official visit to the White House—so much so that Gregoire-Trudeau even lent Obama a helping hand after she lost her balance at a public event.

Gregoire-Trudeau, 40, and Obama, 52, appeared at the ceremony together for girls’ education, where both women sang and danced with a group of schoolchildren.

As she followed Gregoire-Trudeau off the stage, Obama appeared to lose her balance, said Cliff Owen, a photographer for The Associated Press.

She immediately got a helping hand from her new Canadian BFF.

Owen snapped a series of pictures of an open-armed Gregoire-Trudeau helping Obama off the stage, and said there was clear chemistry between the two.

“It’s like two 14-year-old girls … they were just joking and laughing and having a really good time,” said Owen.

“You get the impression they’re going to sneak out of the White House and hit a few bars. They’re just having a really good time with each other.”

So much so, in fact, that Obama introduced Gregoire-Trudeau as “my soulmate.”

“We’ve already gotten into trouble,” she quipped.

The day’s more serious theme involved an American project to help adolescent girls get a quality education.

Obama told the event at the U.S. Institute for Peace that some 62 million girls around the world are currently not in school.

“That’s not just a number,” Obama said in a speech to scouts and students. “Every single one of these girls has a story.”

A year ago, the Obama administration unveiled Let Girls Learn, a program designed to build on investments in global primary school education and to expand them to help adolescent girls pursue their ambitions.

“I know we can get the world united around this issue and change the fate of these 62 million girls forever,” Obama said. “We can do this.”

Said Gregoire-Trudeau: “Canada knows that for a society to be prosperous and more just and more peaceful, women and girls must be educated.”

“And an educated young girl becomes an educated … mother or mentor or friend, professional. That makes for an educated society and an education makes for a more peaceful and just place to be and to grow in.”

Earlier in the day, the women shared a laugh outside the White House as President Barack Obama welcomed the Trudeaus, their children and the Canadian delegation to the residence.

Inside, the Obamas met the three Trudeau children – Xavier, Ella-Grace and Hadrien. Obama high-fived the two-year-old Hadrien, whom Michelle Obama described as “delicious.”


With files from Lee-Anne Goodman in Toronto and Kristy Kirkup in Ottawa.