Pop Star Shakira Visits Hand in Hand

Shakira, center, surrounded by Hand in Hand students and staff
Shakira, center, surrounded by Hand in Hand students and staff
International pop star Shakira delighted the children at Hand in Hand with a visit to the Jerusalem school on June 21, 2011.

A UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and global education advocate, Shakira was in Israel for the Israeli Presidential Conference, a large international conference focused on "making tomorrow better." More than 3,500 people from around the world participated in the conference, including leaders from scientific, cultural, economic, political and philanthropic fields. Celebrity attendees include comedian Sarah Silverman and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. 

Hand in Hand is one of only two non-profits that Shakira visited while in Israel. At the Jerusalem campus, she and the children sang together and then had a serious conversation about coexistence and education in the school library. 

For more photos of Shakira's visit, see Hand in Hand's Facebook page.

See also this great video clip from an Israeli news web site. Shakira speaks in English. 

“My visit to the Max Rayne school today here in Jerusalem — an inspirational school where students learn together, across all divides, speaking both Arabic and Hebrew, learning and playing together without difference — only reminded me, once again, that the most crucial decisions we can make for a better tomorrow concern how to raise and educate our children," Shakira said in a UNICEF press release.

“I’m convinced, as many people are, that investing in education is the best strategy for peace and global stability, and the earlier, the better,” she said.  “Early investment, early childhood nutrition, and basic health care from birth through the age of 6 are essential for a child to develop the actual physical means to learn: to perform better in class, but also better throughout life."

Shakira is founder of The Barefoot Foundation, whose mission is to make education universally available to every child. The foundation operates educational projects around the world. In 2010, the Foundation, in conjunction with the World Bank, launched a groundbreaking $300 million joint initiative aimed at expanding development programs for young children in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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