(Photo credit shakira.com)

Shakira visited Israel and met with Israeli President Peres, and with schoolchildren for her global education campaign. Shakira is part Lebanese descent, and visited the Hand in Hand Max Payne Bilingual School in Jerusalem,  where Israeli and Palestinian children, Jews, Muslims and Christians all study together. The school is a "tool to build peace, coexistence and equality", and every class has two teachers, (one Jewish and one Palestinian) and in two languages (Arabic and Hebrew). On her website she says, "My visit to Max Payne school today here in Jerusalem – an inspirational school where students learn together, across all divides, speaking both Arabic and Hebrew, learning and playing together without difference – only reminded me, once again, that the most crucial decisions we can make for a better tomorrow concern how to raise and educate our children.” She also made a special surprise visit to another school that serves Palestinian students, called Beit Tzafafa Primary School in Jerusalem.

Before her visit, a Facebook Page campaign was started to urge her to boycott Israel in support of Palestinian rights, but she felt it was more important to reach the children and said, “Kids in countries like mine or this one, in conflict, need a voice. They need to be put at the top of political agendas, so I knew I had to be here. The most crucial decision we can make for a better tomorrow is how we educate our children,” she said, speaking alongside her host, Israeli President Shimon Peres. “How wonderful it would be if the world would act like a team. We have so many challenges ahead of us, so many problems to solve,” she said. “This is the time to behave like a team, to wear the same T-shirts and to win the match of discrimination, to win the match of inequality and segregation.”

Here is part of her statement:

"We need, now more than ever, to educate minds, without distinguishing where they are from and what they might believe in. Minds that will be ready to face our shared problems and look for common solutions   We need to help prepare the scientists of tomorrow, the doctors, the physicists, the environmentalists and even the artists of tomorrow. Children today have immense tasks ahead of them. Let’s get this generation going, nourished in body and mind. They need to be ready. Let’s give them safety and all the love and encouragement we can.  Let’s imagine them as a big think tank. A generation of innovators.  Agents of change, as President Peres would say."

"They need us, we need them. The future desperately needs them to succeed. I believe in education for prosperity, education for peace." 

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