Soledad O’Brien first visited Cuba in 1998, when she covered Pope John Paul II’s historic trip there for NBC News.
She has returned to the island many times since, but usually as journalist. Now, she is returning this time to moderate separate panels with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on their historic first visit.
The White House asked Soledad, whose mother's roots are in Cuba, to moderate two events. On Monday, the First Lady met with Cuban teenage girls, some of whom have studied in the United States.
Later in the day, O’Brien moderated a panel with President Obama and entrepreneurs, in which Americans who have started their own business will share advice to their Cuban counterparts.
Soledad travels to Cuba every two years to visit family. Her mother grew up in poverty and left Cuba in the 1950s, before Fidel Castro came to power. Her mother finally got to return with O’Brien on a trip to Cuba about 10 years ago.
This trip, she is bringing her 15-year-old and 14-year-old daughters and 11-year-old twin boys. It is the first time they will be able to meet their relatives and get a sense of what life is like for Cuban teenagers.