ILO honors Shakira

Internationally-acclaimed recording artist and humanitarian Shakira was honored by the International Labor Organization (ILO) for her work promoting the advancement of children and youth around the world. “You’ve always understood that social, economic and environmental policies and action must work together to create sustainable change,” Shakira told ILO Director-General Juan Somavia and hundreds of ILO staff, members of the diplomatic community and high-level representatives from UN organizations at a special ceremony. “It’s not too late to keep our promise to our children, but we must act now. Together, we can make education and decent work for all a reality.”

Shakira was honored for her Barefoot foundation which provides nutrition and education to more than 6,000 children in Colombia, as well as support and training for their parents and the communities they live in. She is also one of the founding members of the “ALAS foundation”, which promotes public policies for children across Latin America and the Caribbean. “Our work at Barefoot and ALAS is deeply tied to the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda and your commitment to justice and peace, by creating decent work for parents, protecting the working conditions of teachers and eradicating child labour,” she said. “How? Through education, which I see as the only path to peace and global stability”.

ILO-Director General Juan Somavia presented Shakira with a medal as part of the ILO’s on-going events marking the World Day on Social Justice. He described her as a “true ambassador for children and young people, for quality education and social justice. We are pleased to honor what you are doing, to enable children and young people living in poverty to benefit from the empowering role and the transforming capacity of a quality education”, he said.

Shakira said witnessing poverty, injustice and inequality “shaped my dream and my vision of social justice: to see a world where every child can live a dignified life with the opportunity to reap the benefits of a good education and a chance to pursue their dreams”.

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