The First Lady Will Travel To Romania and Slovakia, And Spend Mother’s Day With Ukrainian Mothers And Children

WASHINGTON, D.C, (May 5, 2022)—The First Lady will spend Mother’s Day with Ukrainian mothers and children who have been forced to flee their home country because of Putin’s war.

The First Lady will travel to Romania and Slovakia to visit with U.S. troops, reaffirm our strong bilateral ties with these two NATO allies, hear from Ukrainian refugees, show support for the Ukrainian people and express gratitude for the relief efforts of neighboring countries, United Nations (UN) agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Dr. Biden is inspired by the resilience and strength of the Ukrainian people and hopes to communicate that Americans are standing with them. On Mother’s Day, she will meet with Ukrainian mothers and children who have been forced to flee their home country because of Putin’s war.

On Friday, May 6, Dr. Biden will visit Mihail Kogălniceanu (MK) Air Base in Romania, where she will meet with U.S. and NATO military leadership. She will also serve meals to and visit with some of the U.S. troops assigned to the base before departing for Bucharest. Joining Forces, the First Lady’s White House initiative to support military families, will facilitate a virtual story-time with “United Through Reading,”  an organization that connects military families with deployed service members through video recordings and virtual book readings.  

On Saturday, May 7, she will receive a briefing on humanitarian efforts from UN agencies, NGOs, and the Romanian Government at the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, and then greet with embassy staff. Afterwards, she will meet with Romania’s First Lady, Carmen Iohannis, to express gratitude for Romania’s generosity and support for Ukrainian refugees. Like Dr. Biden, after becoming First Lady, Mrs. Iohannis kept her job as an English teacher. She teaches at the Gheorge Lazar National College in Sibiu, Romania. Following her meeting with the First Lady of Romania, Dr. Biden will visit a public school in Bucharest that is hosting Ukrainian refugee students. She will talk with Ukrainian and Romanian educators and interact with Ukrainian refugee students and Romanian students in classroom settings. Afterwards, she will participate in a listening session with Ukrainian educators and mothers. She will then depart for Bratislava, Slovakia and greet staff at the U.S. Embassy.

On Sunday, May 8, Dr. Biden will fly to Kosice, Slovakia where she will visit a city-run refugee center and a school. At the refugee center, the City of Kosice, UN agencies, and NGOs provide services for refugees as they rest and prepare for onward travel. The First Lady will tour and learn about these services; hear from Ukrainian refugees; and express gratitude to the City of Kosice and workers from NGOs and UN agencies. Then, Dr. Biden will visit a public school in Kosice that is hosting Ukrainian refugee students. Here, the First Lady will spend time with mothers and children (both Ukrainian refugees and Slovaks) as the families participate in Mother’s Day activities together. Next, the First Lady will travel to the Slovakia-Ukraine border crossing in Vysne Nemecke, Slovakia, where Ukrainian refugees can enter Slovakia and receive basic services before moving on to processing centers or transit hubs further inside the country. On the tour, Dr. Biden will learn about the experiences of aid workers and refugees, and express gratitude to humanitarian staff. She will also visit a facility provided by the local Greek Catholic church that serves refugees, volunteers, NGO workers, and first responders. 

On Monday, May 9, the First Lady will meet with President of Slovakia Zuzana Caputova at the Presidential Palace in Bratislava to reaffirm our strong bilateral ties and express our gratitude for Slovakia’s support for Ukrainian refugees and cross-border assistance to Ukraine. After her visit to the palace, the First Lady will depart for Joint Base Andrews. 

The First Lady will be accompanied on the trip by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried, Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs at the National Security Council Curtis Ried, and Director for Humanitarian Affairs at the National Security Council Daniel Dieckhaus. Ambassador to the European Union Mark Gitenstein and Mrs. Elizabeth Gitenstein will join the First Lady for the Romania portion of the trip. Ambassador Gitenstein served as the U.S. Ambassador to Romania from 2009-2012.

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Source: Office of the First Lady

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