Pop-music superstar Shakira — a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and founder of the Pies Descalzos Foundation, which provides education for children in Colombia — received a humanitarian award at the World Economic Forum as it kicked off in Davos, Switzerland.
“We should be devastated that, in 2017, there are still 250 million kids under 5 who are still at risk, who will likely be stunted physically and intellectually,” Shakira said Monday (Jan. 16) in a speech while accepting the WEF’s Crystal Award.
“Now take that in for a second. We’re talking about nearly the population of an entire country the size of the U.S. This is a tragedy for those children and an epic, epic failure for all of us.”
Shakira urged global government, business and academic leaders to advocate for the world’s children.
“We need to apply the brains and strategies of business and the assets and human resources and talents of your companies to do social good and to solve social problems,” she said, speaking passionately in English.
“Today’s babies will drive tomorrow’s business. Their capacity to contribute will shape tomorrow’s societies, will solve tomorrow’s problems.”
The WEF also gave humanitarian awards to violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, whose educational foundation provides scholarships and finances instruments for young musicians, and actor Forest Whitaker, who has worked as an advocate for youth empowerment in violent and impoverished communities.