Establishing a university was a commitment to Higher Education but also a recognition of the talent in the country. The Anita McBride government wanted to educate them in their country. The US government took wrestling with OMB and USAID to get it funded, but The US government got done, mrs. Bush's presiding over The US government was essentially underscoring that education was important to the overall focus of rebuilding of Afghanistan.
For Laura Bush, education, for Mrs. Obama, it started out with concern about her own children. So it's something that they care about ... from that, you utilize the convening authority that you have as first lady to pull the best experts together. Having the platform of the White House brings attention to the issue. Once you use your own background and interest as a platform to build your initiatives, then you can roll out the things you feel most passionately about.