Jill Biden arrived in Cairo earlier this month, on the second leg of her six-day trip across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe that sought to promote empowerment for women and education for young people.
The First Lady arrived in the Egyptian capital from Amman, Jordan, where she attended the wedding of Crown Prince Hussein and Saudi architect Rajwa Alseif. She later traveled to Morocco before heading to Portugal, the final stop of her tour.
The nuptials in Jordan drew a star-studded list — headlined by Britain’s Prince William and his wife, the Princess of Wales — but also held deep significance for the region, emphasizing continuity in an Arab state prized for its longstanding stability.
Egypt is one of the largest recipients in the Mideast of American economic and military aid and a longstanding U.S. ally. However, in recent years, U.S. lawmakers have sought to condition that aid on human rights improvements and reforms.
Biden was greeted on the tarmac by Entissar Amer, Egypt’s first lady, and later met with President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi before visiting a technical school in the capital.
Biden’s spokesperson, Vanessa Valdivia, told The Associated Press that the first lady’s visit to Egypt focused on U.S. investments that support education programs.
Since coming to power in 2013, el-Sissi’s government has overseen a wide-ranging crackdown on dissent, jailing thousands. The government has targeted not only Islamist political opponents but also pro-democracy activists, journalists and online critics.
The tour marked Biden’s first visit to the Middle East as First Lady. She traveled to Namibia and Kenya in February.