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Three alumni join Board of Trustees
By Hannah Marr, News Editor • June 21, 2024

Shakira and Obama team up for education

Shakira, a singer, songwriter, dancer, musician, and philanthropist, brings her experience as two-time foundation founder to the presidential commission's 28-member panel. Gabriella Demczuk | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Shakira only goes by one name, but uses its worldwide recognition to make a difference in the Latino community.

The Colombian-born singing sensation was sworn in Thursday as a member of the president’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, joining a 28-member committee that boasts education elites, college presidents and professors.

“Race and ethnicity shouldn’t be factors in the education of any child,” the artist said.

Shakira said she hopes to work with President Barack Obama to plan an early education summit in the coming year, focusing on establishing new initiatives to jump start education efforts for Latino children.

“There is no doubt the future of the United States is inextricably tied to the Latino community here and the education of its youth,” Shakira said.

Roberto Rodriguez, special assistant to Obama for education, said the commission’s goal is to work with the president to extend educational opportunities “from cradle to career.”

Rodriguez also expressed the need to stabilize the cost of college for Latino students, seeing them through from convocation to graduation.

“It’s not just a matter of getting each and every one of our Latino students to the college dorm, it’s a matter of helping them get through that experience and earn their college degree,” Rodriguez said.

Shakira is already the founder of several nonprofit initiatives, the first of which she started as a teenager, and a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Fundacion Piex Desclazos – the Barefoot Foundation – aims to provide aid and support to child victims of violence and Fundacion América Latina en Acción Solidaria works to combat child poverty.

In November, Shakira will be honored as the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year.

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