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Laura Bush Praises Kuwaiti Efforts to Improve Education

U.S. first lady Laura Bush has praised the efforts of the Kuwaiti government in improving education and implementing a U.S.-sponsored scholarship program.

Mrs. Bush made the comment during a speech Wednesday at a Ministry of Education training facility in Kuwait City. She said an English-language program sponsored by the U.S. State Department has given students in the Middle East an opportunity to achieve higher education.

Mrs. Bush said the program also has helped students become better prepared to contribute to social and economic development in their home countries.

The first lady said her trip to Kuwait is the only education stop she will make on her Middle East tour, aimed primarily at increasing breast cancer awareness. Kuwait is the third country in her four-nation Middle East tour.

Mrs. Bush visited a cancer screening clinic in Saudi Arabia Tuesday as part of a U.S.-Saudi breast cancer awareness initiative. She described the facility as a model for other parts of the country.

The first lady called for the overcoming of the stigma associated with discussing the disease. She said it is especially important for people in the Middle East to be screened early for cancer, saying breast cancer presents itself at a younger age in the Middle East than in the United States.

Mrs. Bush traveled to Saudi Arabia from the United Arab Emirates. She also is visiting Jordan.

Both Mrs. Bush's mother and grandmother had breast cancer.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.