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Michelle Obama: Nigerian Girls 'Embody The Best Hope For The Future'

In her first solo weekly address, first lady Michelle Obama said the U.S. is committed to standing up for the more than 200 Nigerian girls who were kidnapped from their school weeks ago.

"In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters," she said. "We see their hopes and their dreams — and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now."

Obama said the terrorist group that took responsibility for the kidnappings was "attempting to snuff out the aspirations of young girls."

"What happened in Nigeria was not an isolated incident," she said. "It's a story we see every day as girls around the world risk their lives to pursue their ambitions."

But, Obama said, like Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, these girls are courageous and their actions, their will to attain an education should "serve as a call to action."

Obama closed with this:

"I hope that any young people in America who take school for granted — any young people who are slacking off or thinking of dropping out — I hope they will learn the story of these girls and recommit themselves to their education.

"These girls embody the best hope for the future of our world ... and we are committed to standing up for them not just in times of tragedy or crisis, but for the long haul.

"We are committed to giving them the opportunities they deserve to fulfill every last bit of their God-given potential."

Full text of Obama's address is at the White House website.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.