Melania Trump to make rare speech at Kuwait-America Foundation gala

Story highlights

  • First lady Melania Trump is the guest of honor at a gala dinner Thursday
  • She will give remarks

Washington (CNN)First lady Melania Trump will take the stage and make remarks Thursday night at the guest of honor at the Kuwait-America Foundation's gala dinner.

She will make remarks and be honored by the foundation "for her dedication to causes affecting women and children in the US and abroad," per East Wing communications director Stephanie Grisham. President Donald Trump will accompany the first lady to the dinner, which is held at the Embassy of the State of Kuwait.
"As an American woman with an international background, she is an inspiration to women and girls worldwide. She is honored by the recognition, but more importantly considers this as an opportunity to continue to shine a light on the fact that it is often children who bear the harshest burdens of cruelty and injustice," Grisham said in a statement.
    Thursday's glitzy dinner is closed to press and no readout of the first lady's speech is expected. The annual dinner is hosted by the Ambassador of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah, and his wife, Sheikha Rima Al-Sabah, a former journalist and prominent Washington socialite.
    The Kuwait-America Foundation is a charitable organization with the core mission "to express gratitude for American sacrifice during the Gulf War, and to strengthen ties between the peoples of the United States and Kuwait," per its website. A spokesperson for the foundation did not respond to CNN's request for comment.
    This year's dinner benefits UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which protects and assists refugees around the world. Representatives from UNHCR are attending the dinner as invited guests of the Kuwait-America Foundation.
    A spokesperson for UNHCR told CNN the organization is grateful to receive the donation, but specific details about the amount and whether it's designated for particular UNHCR outreach efforts have not yet been announced.
    While it's not unusual for high-profile guests to attend and speak at the gala dinner, it's still rare for the first lady to speak, and the Trumps have not thus far been active on the Washington social circuit, with the exception of appearances at the Ford's Theater Annual Gala and the June wedding of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
    Then-Secretary of State John Kerry was the keynote speaker at last year's Kuwait-America Foundation gala dinner, also benefitting UNHCR. Then-CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus was the guest of honor in 2012 alongside actress Nicole Kidman. Petraeus told a story about being mistaken for Ben Affleck at the bank.
    Other guests of honor over the years have included political and celebrity figures such as former President Bill Clinton, Michael Bolton, and Affleck in 2011, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Leonardo DiCaprio in 2009, President George W. Bush in 2008, and then-first lady Laura Bush, Michael Douglas, and then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2006.
    The first lady has previously spoken about challenges facing women and children domestically and abroad, delivering remarks on the topic at a luncheon at the US Mission to the UN last month in New York, and earlier this year at an event at the State Department.
    While Trump has not yet formally unveiled her platform as first lady, these issues have been front and center in recent months, and she signaled priorities in her recent speech.
    "Together, we must acknowledge that all too often it is the weakest, most innocent and vulnerable among us -- our children -- who ultimately suffer the most from the challenges that plague our societies," Trump said during her luncheon speech in New York. "Whether it is drug addiction, bullying, poverty, disease, trafficking, illiteracy, or hunger, it is the children who are hit first and hardest in any country. And as we all know, the future of every nation rests with the promise of their young people."
    She has also identified the devastating opioid epidemic as an area of interest for her forthcoming initiatives.