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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
United Nations News Service (See also > DPI)
21 June 2011

UNICEF Advocate Shakira Highlights Power of Education on Visit to Jerusalem

The international singing sensation and Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Shakira today highlighted the power of education as she met with Jewish and Palestinian students who study together at a school in Jerusalem.

“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 during the visit to the Max Payne “Hand in Hand” School for Bilingual Education.

The groundbreaking institution uses bilingual education as a tool to help build peace, co-existence and equality, according to a news release issued by UNICEF. Every class there is taught by two teachers (one Jewish, one Palestinian) and in two languages (Arabic and Hebrew).

“My visit to 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,” said the Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter.

Since being appointed to the roster of celebrity advocates for UNICEF in 2003, Shakira has focused her efforts on the agency’s programme to get all children into school for a basic education.

Although progress has been made with an additional 52 million children enrolled in primary school since 1999, there are still 67 million primary-school age children out of school globally today, according to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Shakira’s visit to Israel is part of her work to call for the expansion and improvement of comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

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