Melania Trump is planning her first big solo international trip with a visit to several African countries in October. The first lady said she is looking forward to learning about the issues facing children on the continent, as well as appreciating Africa’s history and culture.
She recently launched a US-based effort focused on the well-being of children.
Mrs Trump plans to travel without President Donald Trump, who was roundly criticized earlier this year after his private comment about “shithole countries” in Africa was leaked to journalists.
Exact dates for the trip and which countries she will visit remain to be announced.
“This will be my first time travelling to Africa and I am excited to educate myself on the issues facing children throughout the continent, while also learning about its rich culture and history,” the first lady said in a statement.
“We are a global society and I believe it is through open dialogue and the exchanging of ideas that we have a real opportunity to learn from one another.”
She added that she looks forward to highlighting successful humanitarian work and development programmes under way in Africa.
Her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said the first lady chose Africa as the destination for her first big solo international trip after she learned about development programmes in many of its countries.
They include investments by the US in children’s health and education, Ms Grisham said.
The tour of Africa will be the farthest Mrs Trump has travelled on her own since becoming first lady in January 2017.
Her only other solo international trip came last September, when she flew to Toronto for a day and joined Prince Harry for The Invictus Games competition he established for wounded service members and veterans.
Mrs Trump has accompanied the president to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Belgium, France, Japan, South Korea, the UK and Finland, for his recent summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.