Michelle Bachelet. Souce of photo: online version of the NYT article cited below.
SANTIAGO, Chile, June 7 — Michelle Bachelet has lived in the United States twice, first as a child and then as a single mother studying military affairs at the Inter-American Defense Board in Washington. On Thursday, she will return to the capital, but this time on her first official visit as president of Chile.
Elected with a comfortable majority in January, Ms. Bachelet, 54, is her country’s first female president, a pediatrician and, like her predecessor Ricardo Lagos, a Socialist. . . .
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Ms. Bachelet also plans to visit the middle school she attended while living in Bethesda, Md., in 1962 and 1963, when her father was a military attaché at the Chilean Embassy in Washington. That was the first time she had been outside Chile, and the exposure to American society helped mold her intellectually, she said.
"It was a lovely experience, because I found a society with a democratic history, a rich diversity of thought, and which offered opportunities to its citizens," she said. "The idea of the melting pot was the biggest novelty to me, and I would say that all of that allowed me to acquire a political and cultural foundation that has been quite positive to my political performance."