Shakira Named Harvard Foundation Artist of the Year

Shakira has been named the 2011 Artist of the Year by the Harvard Foundation, according to a press release made public yesterday evening.

The artist will receive her medal during the day-long Cultural Rhythms festival in Sanders Theatre on Feb. 26.

As part of the festivities, 30 student groups will perform at two separate shows that day. Shakira will receive her award at 4 p.m., during the first of the two shows.

The Artist of the Year award is “the Foundation’s most prestigious medal,” according to the press release.

Loc V. Truong, assistant director of the Harvard Foundation, said he did not know whether Shakira would perform during the festival.


During last year’s festival, when Wyclef Jean was named Artist of the Year, the rapper gave a spontaneous performance at the start of the show.

“But we have no expectations at all,” Truong said. “We want them to come and accept the award and enjoy the show.”

According to Truong, the Harvard Foundation looks for artists that are humanitarians, have star power, and understand intercultural relations.

“Harvard is very diverse,” Truong said. “We want to find an artist and humanitarian that appeals to everyone here at Harvard.”

Shakira’s hit “Hips Don’t Lie” topped the charts in 55 countries, and her song “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa),” the theme song for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, became the best-selling World Cup song ever.

She has sold close to 50 million albums worldwide. At the age of 18, Shakira—born Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll—founded the Barefoot Foundation, which provides education and nutrition to children in need.

“Every child has talent to be developed and the potential to become a productive member of society,” Shakira said, according to her website.

Shakira has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2003.

Truong said that her humanitarian efforts were the primary reason why she was selected.

Previous recipients of the award include Will Smith, Matt Damon, Halle Berry, and Jackie Chan.

Tickets for the event are available at the Harvard Box Office and on the Harvard Box Office website.

—Staff writer Hana N. Rouse can be reached at

—Check for updates.