The first lady Laura Bush comes to the Middle East, despite the fact that this is the area of the world where the U.S. image has been marred by the Iraq war. Promotion of women's health, especially breast cancer awareness are at the center of her attention.
Mrs. Bush will travel Oct. 20-26 to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan to meet with officials, medical and educational leaders and members of women's groups. She recently made a trip to Africa that focused on U.S. programs battling AIDS and malaria.
"While in the region she will also visit several cancer treatment and screening centers and launch new cancer awareness activities," said Mrs. Bush's press secretary Sally McDonough.
During the trip, she will promote the U.S.-Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research, which was organized by the State Department, uniting the Susan G. Komen Foundation with MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, Johns Hopkins Medicine in Maryland, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The partnership, which Mrs. Bush announced in June 2006, encourages research, training and community outreach efforts and helps women build knowledge and confidence to monitor the status of their health.
In the United Arab Emirates, Mrs. Bush will visit a site in Abu Dhabi where women go to learn about breast cancer and preventive care. In Dubai, she will join private sector leaders to launch a Breast Cancer Workplace Awareness program. She will meet with the widow of Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, UAE president who died three years ago.
In Saudi Arabia, Mrs. Bush is launching the U.S.-Saudi Arabia Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research at the King Fahd Medical City in Riyadh and will tour the nation's first community cancer screening center. In Jeddah, she will hold a discussion with breast cancer survivors and advocates and meet with Saudi King Abdullah.
In Kuwait, Mrs. Bush will meet with women democratic reformers, legal advocates and business leaders and visit with individuals involved in partnership initiative programs, including those on education.
In Jordan, Mrs. Bush will visit the King Hussein Cancer Center to unveil a model of Jordan's first community breast cancer screening center and announce the expansion of the partnership to additional countries in the Middle East.
She also will tour the facility, highlighting how it uses new technology in breast cancer care and meet with child cancer patients. Mrs. Bush also will visit the UNESCO World Heritage site in Petra, an ancient city in southwestern Jordan, and meet with Jordan's King Abdullah II.