Over 30 world leaders gathered together in Cartagena, Colombia for the annual Summit of the Americas, an event that seeks to find solutions to problems faced in the Western Hemisphere. President Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton were among the thirty leaders joined by singer/activist Shakira who was recently named to Obama’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
Shakira delivered a heartfelt speech where she asked world leaders to improve childhood development policies by supporting education. In her speech she remarked, “I am convinced that by far the best way to fight poverty in Latin America is to invest in the education of all our youths, and to do so particularly from the months before they are born. I firmly believe this social investment must come not just from government but from all of us, including those in the business community.”
The Hips Don’t Lie singer went on to address the inequality in Latin America saying it was, “among the worst in the world, and such high levels of inequity are an indictment of the failure of past generations of Latin American political and business leaders to deliver inclusive economic growth.”
Shakira’s speech didn’t linger long on the history of Latin American leaders. The rest of her speech was devoted to the steps that can be taken to “ensure that our generation and nations do not fail again but instead fulfill the enormous potential reflected in their hundreds of millions of young people.”
The pop singer has long advocated for better education in her homeland and in the U.S. She has sought to help disadvantaged students through her Barefoot Foundation by speaking with policy makers and raising awareness about universal education. Although Shakira’s speech was moving and thought provoking, the world leaders at the Summit of the Americas ended without a joint declaration.
Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos said at the summit’s closing conference, “There is no declaration because there is no consensus.” Divisions over Cuba and Argentine claims to the Falkland Islands led to no consensus being made at the summit.
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