In his quest to step up outreach to the Latino community, President Barack Obama has named Colombian pop superstar Shakira to a special presidential commission on education for Hispanics.
The 34-year-old Grammy-winning singer—who has been involved in promoting early childhood education in Latin America for years—will serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, which advises Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan on issues of educational success related to Hispanic students.
“This is a tremendous honor for me. I am humbled that my philanthropic experience could be helpful or that my voice can be used to amplify the message and work of the President and this Commission,” she told The Huffington Post. “Latino youth are the fastest-growing group in America, yet more Latino children are living in poverty — 6.1 million in 2010 — than children of any other racial or ethnic group. As I have seen in my own Foundation work, the only road out of poverty is education.”
The announcement comes after Shakira’s meeting at the White House on Monday with policy officials on early childhood development.
This afternoon, Shakira is expected to attend a swearing-in ceremony and discussion on a broader White House Hispanic education program.
In addition to singer/songwriter, the president appointed three other members to the commission:
Nancy Navarro, the only Hispanic member of the Montgomery County Council and a former Montgomery Board of Education president.
Adrián A. Pedroza, executive director of the Partnership for Community Action, a grassroots, community-based organization that works to build community leadership around issues of immigration, education reform and public health.
Kent P. Scribner, superintendent of Union High School District #210 in Phoenix, Arizona.