For Immediate Release

Washington, January 31, 2018 – Best-selling author, philanthropist, educator and former First Lady of the United States Laura Bush will speak at the 2018 NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Bush is a powerful advocate for literacy, education and human rights, and she will address the conference on Tuesday, May 29.

As First Lady, Mrs. Bush advocated for the importance of literacy and education to advance opportunity for America’s young people and to foster healthy families and communities. She highlighted the importance of preparing children to become lifelong learners, convening in 2001 a White House Summit on Early Childhood Cognitive Development and creating the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.

Today, as Chair of the Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative, Mrs. Bush promotes access to education, healthcare and economic opportunity for women and girls around the world. The Women’s Initiative programs are preparing and empowering the next generation of women leaders in North Africa and the Middle East, working to ensure the expansion and protection of women’s rights in Afghanistan and engaging and supporting First Ladies from around the world to effectively use their unique platforms to advance issues for women and girls in their countries.

“Through her early work as an educator, her years in the White House and now as a leader at the Bush Institute, Mrs. Bush demonstrates the impact passionate advocates can make throughout all sectors of society,” commented Esther D. Brimmer, NAFSA Executive Director and CEO. “As a strong advocate for literacy, education and human rights around the world, her contributions to the NAFSA conference will no doubt serve as a catalyst for vital discussion and engagement among our attendees.”

Mrs. Bush is the author of the bestselling memoir, Spoken From the Heart, and bestselling children’s book, Our Great Big Backyard. She also wrote the forward to We Are Afghan Women: Voices of Hope. Born in Midland, Texas, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Southern Methodist University and a master’s degree in library science from the University of Texas.

This plenary session featuring Mrs. Bush is sponsored in part by Education in Ireland. Learn more about all the plenary speakers at

About the NAFSA Conference

NAFSA’s 70th Annual Conference & Expo is the world’s largest gathering of professionals in international education with an expected 10,000 attendees from more than 100 countries. The conference offers a wide array of learning and networking opportunities for international educators, and features more than 200 sessions and workshops focusing on the most crucial topics in international education and exchange and global learning.

A major highlight of the conference is the International Education Expo Hall, which features more than 400 exhibitors representing hundreds of organizations from around the world, including colleges and universities; study abroad and intensive-English programs; embassies and government agencies; and more. The conference theme for 2018 is “Diverse Voices, Shared Commitment.” It will be held in Philadelphia, May 29–June 1, 2018.

Learn more at

Sample Tweet: Chair of @TheBushCenter’s Women’s Initiative and former educator & First Lady of the US @laurawbush to speak at #NAFSA18, world’s largest #IntlEd conference

About NAFSA: With more than 10,000 members, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education. Visit us at To learn more about our advocacy efforts on behalf of international education, visit and @ConnectOurWorld on Twitter. Resources to guide our members on these issues can be found at