When about 500 people crowded into a 250-person capacity room to get a glimpse of the United States’ Second Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, the vibe felt more like a concert’s than that of a speech on education. And though the lights stayed on and the median age was more Sinfonietta than Coachella, cell phones swayed in the air like lighters.
Speaking at the National Technological Education Institute (INET) in the City of Buenos Aires last Thursday, Biden addressed the importance of community college in both Latin America and the United States. She started her speech with a nod at the Obama administration’s work with Latin America, but quickly digressed.
“I’m not a politician,” she admitted. “I’m an English professor.”
As a professor of English composition at Delaware Technical Community College, Biden is the first Second Lady to have retained a full-time job. Her history as a lifelong educator imbued her speech with ethos as she focused on the ways in which community college could allow people to succeed in both Argentina and the United States.
“I know young people in Argentina share so much with their peers in the United States, and throughout the hemisphere,” she said. “No matter what country you live in, people are trying to figure out where they fit into the intense competition in the global economy, and leaders are trying to figure out how to prepare the next generation for the jobs that they want.”
Biden stopped at INET as part of an official visit to Argentina during which she met with Argentine First Lady Juliana Awada, US Ambassador Noah Mamet and Argentine Education Minister Esteban Bullrich last week.
Her tour follows US President Barack Obama’s State visit in March and also follows The Other Biden’s desire to strengthen ties with Latin America. A member of Biden’s staff confirmed with The Bubble that the impetus for Jill Biden’s tour was the Vice President’s work with Latin America, an initiative that involved bolstering relations on the basis of mutual respect.
Biden travels with a mission from the White House to further Obama’s education initiative 100,000 Strong in the Americas, which aims to increase the number of US students studying in South and Central America to 100,000 and vice versa.
Beyond her work as a professor and teacher, Biden has been involved in various education-focus campaigns such as Michelle Obama’s #LetGirlsLearn, an initiative that promotes empowerment and education for women. She is also involved with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
The double audience turnout was not the only thing Biden had to celebrate; during her meeting with Education Minister Esteban Bullrich, they signed an agreement that would allow 1,000 more grants to be awarded to Argentine educators and students to study in the United States, reported the Buenos Aires Herald.