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Melania Trump’s image used on billboard to sell English classes to Croatians

Want to learn English? What better role model than first lady Melania Trump, whose image has been used by a language school in Zagreb, Croatia, on advertising billboards in the city.

"Just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English," the poster from the Americki Institut (American Institute) states, next to an image of Mrs Trump and against a backdrop of the American flag.

The Institut published a picture of the poster in a tweet Friday, with the caption: "We entered the billboard game."

Ivis Buric, the Institute's communications manager, said Melania Trump, who is from Slovenia, was chosen as "the most recognized emigrant to the U.S. from this region," in an email to CNBC.

It is not meant to be a political statement, she added. "In no means is it some kind of political message. It's ambiguous, and we suppose a conversation-starter, but nothing more than that."

The Institute bought five billboards for the poster, but is only running two because of rain preventing their installation, and Buric added that the aim of the advert is to encourage emigrating Croatians to learn English.

"Tens of thousands (maybe hundreds) are leaving the country and moving to places like Ireland, Canada, Australia, and the U.S. primarily in search of a better paycheck. And for those who don't leave, Croatia's primary industry is tourism. So at the moment, the importance of learning English--and learning it well--has never been higher here in Croatia," Buric said.

"The campaign aims to promote the American Institute as a place to learn English, find out about educational opportunities in the U.S., and participate in American-oriented events."

Melania Trump speaks during the Republican National Convention on July 19, 2016
Mike Segar | Reuters
Melania Trump speaks during the Republican National Convention on July 19, 2016

Mrs Trump is pictured speaking into a microphone, in a white outfit that appears similar to what she wore to give the July 2016 speech in which she was accused of plagiarizing former first lady Michelle Obama. In the address, given to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, she used language similar to Mrs Obama's when she spoke of working hard, keeping promises and treating people with respect.

But Mrs Trump had told NBC's Matt Lauer in an exclusive NBC News interview that she had largely written her own speech. "I read once over it and that's all," she said. "Because I wrote it ... with as little help as possible," she told Lauer.

Buric said that the American Institute commissioned a local artist to create an illustration of the First Lady giving a speech for the billboard.

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