Colombian superstar Shakira turned the spotlight on education in developing countries on Saturday, February 26 as she was honored at Harvard University. The "Hips Don't Lie" hitmaker, a former history student at the University of California, Los Angeles, was named Harvard Foundation's 2011 Artist of the Year in recognition of her career achievements and humanitarian work, following in the footsteps of previous winners Will Smith, Sharon Stone and Jackie Chan.
Joking about the accolade, the 34 year old told the crowd at the Massachusetts ceremony, "As I entered the premises today, I had to call my mum and say, 'Hey mum. Guess what? I got into Harvard!'" But Shakira's acceptance speech then took a serious turn as she called on students at the prestigious school to do more to help improve education for poor kids around the world.
She said, "Not everyone can study at Harvard University. But everyone, wherever they live, whatever their background, deserves a chance to make the most of his or her potential. And as a child of the developing world, it is my duty to use this voice in every way I can to promote the message about the power of education to change lives."
Shakira, a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador, has been working to improve education and nutrition to kids from impoverished areas of her native Colombia since establishing the Barefoot Foundation when she was 18.