Shakira and Peres_311.
(photo credit: GPO)
Education is the best strategy for global stability and peace, Colombian pop star Shakira said on Tuesday at the opening of the 'Facing Tomorrow' Presidential Conference in Jerusalem.
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After being introduced by President Shimon Peres, the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador thanked Peres and said she is "happy to be in Israel in the land that has been the mother of cultures and spirituality for so long."
The goodwill ambassador focused her speech on the importance of universal education, saying "the most crucial decision people can make for a better tomorrow is to educate children." She then recalled her visit earlier in the week to Israeli schools with Jewish and Palestinian children.
"I saw a lot of Barca shirts," she told the audience. "And I thought how wonderful it would be if the world acted like a team, like Barca. This is the time to wear the same t-shirt, to win the match of discrimination and segrargation."
She added, "The good thing about investing in education is that you don't have to wait 100, 50, 20 years. You can see tangible results immediately."
Speaking to international and local reporters who packed Oren Hall 4 at the Jerusalem Convention Center, Peres got the first chuckle, introducing the singer-songwriter as "Sharika". Journalists were quick to correct him.
Peres told Shakira that her "melodies are moving," and called her a "messenger of peace."
"Your priorities are directed to the poor, to the discriminated, and you bring them a message of a better world," he told her. "I was moved when I listened to your song about Africa. What is true about Africa, is true about the rest of the world, about the Middle East.
"Falling doesnt prefent you from getting up again."
The president concluded by telling Shakira, "We want to bring our region to peace. You are an ambassador for people who raise the flag for dignity, democracy, togetherness."
A young girl also drew attention from reporters, as she presented Shakira with a necklace passed down through eight generations of Yemenis, a gift from Peres.
The two did not take questions from reporters following their speeches, and were ushered offstage after reading prepared statements.