Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Change Agent

Shakira advocates for children at the Summit of the Americas

Shakira will meet with heads of state, including President Obama, at the Summit of the Americas in Colombia. Shakira is already working to provide better education to children.

By Staff Writer / April 13, 2012

Colombian singer Shakira walks with children through a crowd of fans in Cartagena, Colombia, April 12. The pop star and humanitarian will be meeting with heads of state who are attending a Summit of the Americas there. She is a long-time advocate of children's issues, including education.

Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

Enlarge

Latin American pop superstar Shakira will be at this weekend's gathering of the Western Hemisphere's leaders advocating for her favorite issues: early childhood development and universal education.

Skip to next paragraph

Senior editor

Gregory M. Lamb is a senior editor and writer.

Recent posts

The singer and philanthropist will attend the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, and meet with heads of state, including President Obama. She'll also perform the national anthem of her home country, Colombia, at the opening ceremonies.

The international celebrity and humanitarian started two groups, the Barefoot Foundation in the United States and Columbia, and the ALAS foundation in Panama, that deal with helping children reach their full potential. She's also serves as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. In the United States, Mr. Obama appointed her to his President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

QUIZ: Think you know Latin America? Take our geography quiz.

"We’ve seen an increase in the number of programs directed at children between 0 and 6 years old, but it is still not enough and 35 million children from lower-income communities can’t access high-quality early childhood education programs in [Latin America] today," Shakira told Forbes in an interview before the summit. "We have to keep working to build more centers, to train more teachers, and to involve more parents in their children’s education. But we not only need more programs, we need better ones."

Shakira has helped to start a $36 million education project for Colombian children, an effort announced as part of the events surrounding the weekend summit. She appeared Thursday in Cartagena with Maria Clemencia Rodriguez, Colombia's first lady, to announce a program to build 13 education centers for more than 6,000 students, according to the AFP news agency. The Colombian government will contribute almost $25 million and 18 private institutions will give $12 million.

Her Barefoot Foundation, which works with impoverished children, operates five schools in different regions of Colombia.

Shakira, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripolli, has won numerous Grammy, Latin Grammy, and Billboard Latin Music Awards

"I believe that every single one of us, celebrity or not, has a responsibility to get involved in trying to make a difference in the world," she told a Forbes interviewer. "All of us involved [in the Barefoot Foundation and ALAS] are very passionate about education and early childhood development. We are eager for a future without so much poverty and inequality, and we are fighting very hard to make it happen.

"That kind of determination and passion is what moves the needle on important social issues, whether it comes from a celebrity or not."

• Sign up to receive a weekly selection of practical and inspiring Change Agent articles by clicking here.

Permissions

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Editors' picks

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!