Kicking off Israel's third annual President's Conference on Tuesday with a plea for children's education worldwide, Shakira, a UN goodwill ambassador, said the Holy Land was the "perfect place to talk about how urgent it is to invest in education."
Shakira with President Peres (Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO)
"The most crucial decision we can make for a better tomorrow is how we educate our children," she said, speaking alongside her host, President Shimon Peres.
"How wonderful it would be if the world would act like a team. We have so many challenges ahead of us, so many problems to solve," she said. "This is the time to behave like a team, to wear the same T-shirts and to win the match of discrimination, to win the match of inequality and segregation."
At Israeli-Arab school (Photo: Noam Moskovich)
Shakira, 34, whose many multilingual hits include "Hips Don't Lie," "Whenever, Wherever," and "Waka, Waka," has established a number of charitable foundations dedicated toward advancing education.
She was born Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll in Colombia and has Lebanese heritage.
Shakira began her comments alongside with a single "shalom" – Hebrew for both hello and peace – and after a young girl presented her with a necklace, she said "toda" – Hebrew for thanks.
With boyfriend Gerard Pique and comedian Sarah Silverman (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Peres complimented the singer, saying that she represents "hope and innocence" and serves as the ambassador of young people for a better future.
According to Peres, today's younger generation listens to singers more than to politicians, and the former are the best messengers to convey a message.
He added that he was moved by her song, "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)", which he called "inspirational".
The previous day, Shakira visited Jerusalem's Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray.
Shakira is accompanied in Israel by her boyfriend, Spanish national football team star and Barcelona defender Gerard Pique.
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