Inside the White House screening of 'We Will Rise'

Updated 1327 GMT (2127 HKT) October 13, 2016
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In the CNN Film "We Will Rise," Michelle Obama travels to Morocco and Liberia to meet young women overcoming incredible odds to pursue an education. Here, Obama poses with a group that includes some of the girls featured in the film at a screening held at the White House on Tuesday, October 11. Callie Shell for CNN
Meryl Streep joined Obama in Morocco, where she met with young women who described why many adolescent girls disappear from school each month. Here, Streep and Rihab Boutadghart take a photo together. Callie Shell for CNN
CNN's Isha Sesay, seen here in red taking a photo in the White House's Green Room, also traveled to Liberia and Morocco with Obama and actress Freida Pinto. Callie Shell for CNN
The girls seen in the film, including Raphina Feelee, far right, were captured speaking frankly about the challenges they face as they try to achieve their dreams. "I don't care what the struggle may be," Feelee says in the film. "I can make it." Callie Shell for CNN
For Obama, the issue of girls' education is personal. "Neither of my parents and hardly anyone in the neighborhood where I grew up went to college," Obama wrote in an opinion piece for CNN. "But thanks to a lot of hard work and plenty of financial aid, I had the opportunity to attend some of the finest universities in this country. That education opened so many doors and gave me the confidence to pursue my ambitions and have a voice in the world." Callie Shell for CNN
Many of the girls Obama met on her journey "come from families struggling with poverty," the first lady wrote in her opinion piece. "Some endure dangerous commutes to and from school each day. Others face cultural pressures to drop out, marry young and start having children of their own. But these girls have big plans for their lives." Callie Shell for CNN
At a panel discussion ahead of the film's screening, Streep said her hopes for the film include "every little boy around the world" seeing "We Will Rise." "Because these girls know how far they can go with a mentor, determination, real hard work, and a couple of breaks ... But the things that hold you back aren't necessarily what you can change. The world has to change along with us." Callie Shell for CNN
As part of her effort to make an impact on global girls' education, Obama, seen here speaking to a group in the State Dining Room, launched an initiative called Let Girls Learn. The program has partnered "with some of the world's largest companies and organizations that are committing money, resources and expertise" to girls' education, Obama wrote in her opinion piece. Callie Shell for CNN
Speaking of Streep ahead of the film's screening, Obama told those gathered at the White House that "Meryl Streep is as delightful, and as intelligent, and as focused and engaged as you would imagine Meryl Streep to be." Callie Shell for CNN
"Isha was trying to pass as the third Obama child," Obama joked at the screening. "I told her, 'you are welcome anytime.'" Callie Shell for CNN
Music artist Andra Day, far right, contributed the song "Rise Up" to the film. "This in particular is so special to me because ... it's bringing to light the fact that women need education, and not just that they need education but how important it is and what a global investment it is," Day said of her song being attached to "We Will Rise." Callie Shell for CNN
Initiatives like Let Girls Learn and the film "We Will Rise" are "about telling the stories of these girls and girls like them across the globe," Obama said at the screening. "Not just their challenges and struggles, but their dreams and aspirations, which are big." Callie Shell for CNN