JACKSON, Miss., October 27, 2005 —The USA International Ballet Competition (USA IBC)
 announces that First Lady Marsha Barbour will serve as the Mississippi Ambassador for the 2006 competition, scheduled for June 17- July 2, in Jackson, Miss.       
Recognized as one of the world’s most prestigious dance events, the USA IBC is a two-week “olympic-style” competition where professional and amateur dancers vie for medals, cash awards and scholarships. 
               “The IBC is very pleased that Mrs. Barbour, Mississippi’s First Lady, has agreed to represent the USA IBC by serving as an ambassador of goodwill,” said Sue Lobrano, USA IBC executive director. “Through her commitment, the First Lady is demonstrating a high level of support for the IBC and acknowledging the positive impact this event has on the state of Mississippi.”   
Since becoming First Lady, Barbour has served in a number of capacities, including Board of Directors, International Ballet Competition and Honorary Chairperson, Glory of Baroque Dresden Exhibit. She is also a member of Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free,
an initiative of First Spouses from across the United States.
    “The USA International Ballet Competition is an outstanding event for the State of Mississippi both culturally and economically,” said Barbour. “We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to host this competition that attracts visitors from around the world.  While in Jackson, they discover our rich Southern tradition and hospitality.”
    The 2002 USA IBC hosted 40,000 ticket buyers from 41 states and seven foreign countries. These visitors generated an economic impact of more than $6.2 million for the state of Mississippi.
    Marsha Dickson Barbour grew up in Monroeville, Ala. She received a Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in marketing, from the University of Mississippi in December of 1970. Marsha and Haley Barbour married in December of 1971, and they have two sons. Since their marriage, the family has lived in Yazoo City, Miss., where the First Lady has been active in school, church and community service activities.
     Mrs. Barbour is working to support her husband’s agenda for Mississippi and wants to contribute to making a difference in the lives of all Mississippians. She is especially active in early childhood development issues and Mississippi tourism.
     The USA IBC is designated as the official international ballet competition in the United States by a Joint Resolution of Congress and sanctioned by UNESCO. The event is held every four years, in the tradition of sister competitions in Varna, Bulgaria, and Moscow, Russia. For more information about the USA IBC, visit www.usaibc.com or call 601-355-9853.