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The First Lady of the US arrived in Romania on Friday

May 22, 2022

The First Lady of the United States of America, Jill Biden, on Saturday met with President Klaus Iohannis and his wife, Carmen.The First Lady of the US arrived in Romania on Friday. She went to the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, where she met with the US and NATO troops.The First Lady's visit to Romania is part of a four-day trip to our country and Slovakia to emphasize the United States' commitment to Ukrainian refugees.The wife of the US president wrote on Twitter that the purpose of her trip to the two states was to "spend Mother's Day with Ukrainian mothers and children who were forced to leave their homes because of the Putin's war."The First Lady of the United States of America, Jill Biden, and the wife of the President of Romania, Carmen Iohannis, arrived on Saturday at the "Uruguay" Secondary School in district 1 of the Capital City, which hosts Ukrainian refugee pupils.The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Education, Sorin Cimpeanu, the US interim charge d'affairs in Romania, David Muniz, the Deputy Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Karen Donfried, the former US Ambassador to Bucharest (2009 - 2012), Mark Gitenstein, who is currently the US Ambassador to the European Union, and his wife Elizabeth Gitenstein, Presidential Adviser Ligia Deca.Jill Biden and Carmen Iohannis visit two classrooms. In the first there are preschoolers and primary school students doing various activities, such as paper hands or a "friendship tree" in the colours of the Ukrainian flag.The other class is with older children, who do friendly puzzles. The pupil groups are coordinated by a Romanian and a Ukrainian teacher.The mothers from Ukraine explained to the two ladies the hardships they went through from the beginning of the war until their arrival in Romania, but also about the help they received from the Romanian people.The talks focused mainly on the need for children from Romania's neighbouring country to learn in Ukrainian language.One of the teachers explained that an educational space for Ukrainian children has been set up at the "Uruguay" Secondary School, as part of a larger project designed to provide financial support, accommodation and medical care to mothers."My project came out of fear. I was just thinking how to save my child. We thank the Romanian people for being with us, they helped us so much. The Romanians did so much volunteering that not even Romania expected it to see that much hospitality. And I saw these children that are now in a safe place. I came here on March 1st and no one had heard of this educational project. People had other worries. I went to the Ukrainian Embassy and they didn't have any time for me. I went to the Bucharest Nord Railway Station and I started shouting that I'm a teacher and I can take care of the children's education. There was a car there waiting for a train full of people and they told me to stop scaring the people. Then someone else told me that the mayor was organizing a children's play area, equipped with everything they needed. We were told that they could give us some classrooms for the children. I want to thank the Romanian people for what they did for us," another Ukrainian teacher said.Another woman from Ukraine said she was positively shocked by the behaviour and war welcome she and her children received in Romania."I think you're the amazing ones, aren't you? I told you this at lunch, how amazing you are!" Jill Biden addressed the mothers in Ukraine.Jill Biden and Carmen Iohannis previously visited two classrooms. In the first, preschoolers and primary school students cut out small pieces of paper or a "friendship tree" in the colours of the Ukrainian flag.In the other classrooms, older children made puzzles. The groups of pupils were coordinated by a Romanian and a Ukrainian teacher. Biden toured the school Saturday with Carmen Iohannis, the first lady of Romania, who — like her American counterpart — is an educator and has kept her job as an English teacher at a local college during her tenure. The two women had a private lunch at the presidential residence before heading to the school.   “You never know what you’re getting into, what you’re walking into,” Biden said of meeting Iohannis for the first time. “She looked at my heritage. She tried to do Italian meals for our lunch, and then we just talked, like girlfriends. I mean, we talked about literature, Shakespeare, we talked about Mark Twain, we talked about exercise. I mean, stuff that just women do when they get together, and they feel like they have something in common.”   Biden stressed that beyond the small talk, the objective of the meeting was to talk about hope for Ukraine’s future and the “strong alliance” between the US and Romania.   “We feel safer knowing that [the United States] back us up,” Iohannis said. “Sticking together, being united is very important to us.”   Earlier Saturday, Biden held a listening session at the United States Embassy here in Bucharest, where she was briefed by leaders of humanitarian efforts around Romania about the needs and capabilities of a country grappling with thousands of additional residents. Romania has taken in close to 900,000 refugees since the war began ten weeks ago, with approximately 7,000 Ukrainians arriving daily, according to Pablo Zapata, a representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, who participated in the discussion at the Embassy.   Following her visit to the school, Biden departed for Slovakia, where she spent two days, including visits to a refugee center and two schools. She also met with Slovak President Zuzana Caputova, the country’s first female president. Her European trip has been timed around Mother’s Day on Sunday, an occasion that might feel vastly different for the Ukrainian mothers and children who fled their homes.   Amid fears that Russian forces will escalate their assault on Ukraine before Victory Day, an annual holiday marking the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany, Biden said she worried that the refugee crisis is nowhere near its end. (Source photo: https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=305322715094548&set=pb.100068504652856.-2207520000..)

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