Colombian superstar and Haute 100 Miami member Shakira was a guest at Israeli president Shimon Peres’s Israeli Presidential Conference on Tuesday, July 19 in Jerusalem. The pop star, who is partly Lebanese, had performed last month in Beirut and was urged by fans to stay away from Jerusalem and take part in a pro-Palestinian boycott. Shakira, obviously, would have no part.
In fact, the 34-year-old singer was there to promote peace, not perform. Shakira, who is also a UNICEF ambassador, was eloquent and passionate as she discussed her reasons for being there, “I’m here for the Israeli kids and the Palestinian kids and kids in every region of the world where there is not enough quality education.” In global terms, she also presented education and investment in early child development as being “the best antidote to violence.”
Earlier in the day, Shakira and her boyfriend, Spanish soccer star Gerard Piqué, visited the Hand in Hand Max Rayne Bilingual School in Jersusalem, a school where the education knows no boundaries. Israeli and Palestinian children, Jews, Muslims, and Christians study together in both Hebrew and Arabic.
In a piece Shakira wrote for the Huffington Post, “Education for Peace”, the singer mused of her visit there, “The afternoon of the conference, I visited the Max Rayne Jerusalem School, an inspirational place where half of the student population is Israeli and half Palestinian. Students learn together, across all divides, speaking both Arabic and Hebrew, learning and playing together without difference.”
She added, “There is no other investment that has the kind of social multiplier effect that early education has. It is an incredible thing to nurture and watch grow and spread. Seeing the students flourish at Max Rayne School – as with visiting the children in my schools in Colombia who are now on their way to college instead of guerilla armies – only reaffirms my conviction that education is the very substance of peace. ”
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