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Michelle Obama hosts talk on girls' education, continues focus on abducted Nigerian girls

First lady Michelle Obama meets with issue experts about international girls' education, Thursday, May 22, 2014, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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First lady Michelle Obama meets with issue experts about international girls' education, Thursday, May 22, 2014, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON - Michelle Obama said the kidnapping of nearly 300 girls in Nigeria last month is a "tragic reminder" of the risks girls around the world face to get an education.

The first lady met Thursday at the White House with more than a dozen leaders to discuss furthering education for girls in the U.S. and abroad.

Mrs. Obama said the discussion to push for educating girls, especially adolescents, "couldn't be happening at a more perfect time."

"We have to seize upon this moment and take the opportunity to really push to make some significant changes," she said.

The first lady's office refused to release the names of those who participated in Thursday's event, but a White House official said they included international girls' education experts from the United Nations and World Bank, private agencies that implement programs around the world and advocacy organizations.

The first lady often avoids controversial topics but continues to build on her commitment to education, especially for military families and low-income students.

She has supported arts education, specialized training for teachers of military families, healthier meals in schools and post-high school education or training.

Mrs. Obama rarely comments on foreign policy issues but has taken a firm position on the Nigerian schoolgirls who were abducted from their dorm in April.

In the past, the mother of two girls said she was "outraged and heartbroken" about the kidnapping during a presidential radio and Internet address. The first lady also posted a picture of herself holding a sign reading "#BringBackOurGirls" on her official Twitter account earlier this month.

The U.S. military has deployed 80 personnel to Chad to help find the girls.

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