Jill Biden named board chair of Save the Children

Jill Biden speaks with students Gus Mathis, right, and Cole Swindle, during Biden's visit with Save the Children at Linden Elementary School. Photo / AP
Jill Biden speaks with students Gus Mathis, right, and Cole Swindle, during Biden's visit with Save the Children at Linden Elementary School. Photo / AP

Dr Jill Biden, educator and wife of former US Vice President Joe Biden, has been named board chair of Save the Children.

Biden, who still teaches English to college students, said she was honoured to be asked to chair the international aid organisation's board and thought its emphasis on education was a perfect fit for her.

"I've been an educator for 31 years," Biden said in a phone interview with the Associated Press. "I'm still teaching full time at Northern Virginia Community college, and I think (Save the Children's) emphasis on education fits with my life's work." Biden has travelled around the world to see education programs, including those that help refugee children.

Save the Children works in more than 120 countries, including the United States, and focuses on the health, education and safety of kids. US operations are headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Biden travelled to rural Linden, Tennessee, last week to see first-hand how Save the Children literacy programmes help kids in the town of 900 that's about 150km southwest of Nashville. She said many of her own students have gaps in their education, and that's why the organisation's early-childhood education programs are so important.

Save the Children officials believe Biden will be able to help call attention to the organisation's mission both here and abroad.

"The work that we do for kids is more needed than ever," Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children, said. "We have issues like what's happening in Syria " the horrible things there that are affecting children. We have issues right here in our own country in terms of kids growing up in poverty, and the really huge challenges they're facing." It's time, she said, that people get involved to help these kids, she said, and it doesn't matter what political side of the aisle they sit on.

"If they care about kids," Miles said, "we want them to be involved and engaged in what we do with Save the Children."

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