WASHINGTON — First lady Michelle Obama’s celebrated passion for empowering girls around the globe to become educated is the subject of a CNN Films documentary to air this week in more than 200 countries. The project received a rousing sendoff Tuesday at a White House screening that included Meryl Streep.
“We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Education Girls Around the World” will air beginning this week on all CNN networks – a first for the cabler. It is co-produced by the same CNN team that three years ago created “Girl Rising,” a doc about nine girls from developing countries in pursuit of their dreams. “We Will Rise” bows in the U.S. on Wednesday.
“This past June we had the opportunity to revisit the critical topic of girls’ education when we followed the first lady during visits to Morocco and Liberia,” said CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker. He said it resulted in the new film about young women with big dreams.
Obama said the film is an important reminder of the courage and determination some girls have to make just to pursue their education. Several of the film’s subjects were on hand for the screening. They participated in a panel discussion in advance of the screening, hosted by CNN correspondent Isha Sesay. Offering a video from London was Indian actress Freida Pinto, who also joined Obama on the trip.
“It’s about telling the stories of these girls and girls like them across the globe — not just their challenges and their struggles, but their dreams and their aspirations — which are big,” Obama said. “Their unrelenting bravery and determination … the miles they have to walk each day just to get to school. The hours they spend each night studying, making their families proud. Their refusal to give up, even in the face of some overwhelming odds that would stifle many of us.”
Streep, who also joined the first lady on her June trip, praised her dedication to enriching the lives of young women throughout the world. “Places that hold women back suffer economically and in esteem,” she said. Streep said she was delighted to participate in the “incredible initiative.”
Among others attending the event were reps from Let Girls Learn, a U.S. government initiative to promote education around the world, and Rise Up’s Let Girls Lead. The panel and screening also coincided with the worldwide celebration of International Day of the Girl.