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First Ladies Initiative

First Ladies use their unique platforms to promote issues and programs that improve the lives of women and children in their countries. The Bush Institute's First Ladies Initiative engages and supports First Ladies from around the world to effectively use their unique platforms to advance issues for women and girls in their countries.

Core Components

Promote Dialogue
Partnering with First Ladies to build a robust network of women working to advance education, good health, and economic opportunity for women and children worldwide

Share Best Practices
Preparing the First Ladies’ senior advisors and staff with training sessions on effective governance, strategic planning, communication and more

Build Capacity
Providing the relevant tools to establish effective First Ladies’ offices and to identify the most critical policy initiatives and areas of advocacy for each First Lady

Foster Partnerships
Fostering public-private partnerships for First Ladies by connecting them with funding partners, corporations, and NGOs


More than 40 current and former First Ladies, including First Lady Michelle Obama and Mrs. Cherie Blair, have participated in Initiative summits, collaborative meetings, and other program related activities 

First Ladies Initiative Case Studies

A Role Without a Rulebook: The Influence and Leadership of Global First Ladies

The George W. Bush Institute’s First Ladies Initiative and the International Center for Research on Women examined the expanding role of first ladies, their leadership on critical issues, the challenges they face in leveraging this unique platform, and how first ladies overcome those challenges to make a difference on critical issues at local, national, and global levels.

The research profiles 14 first ladies and includes interviews with 11 current and former first ladies from around the world, providing unique case studies for women’s leadership more broadly. The report was completed with generous support from Exxon Mobil.

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countries from Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean have participated in capacity-building training sessions to date.

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“We as First Ladies need to be mentored, we need to be guided, and we need to be supported.” –  H.E. Sia Koroma, First Lady of Sierra Leone

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