ALAS Foundation’s founder and activist Shakira met with President Obama and at the White House today to discuss their shared interest in early childhood development and universal education.
“It was such a privilege to sit down with the President in the Oval Office to discuss our shared commitment to education and early childhood development. We agreed that investing in our children is the smartest strategy governments can use to boost economic growth, fight poverty, and promote global security and peace,” said Shakira. “We will be working closely with the President and his staff to implement his vision—for Latinos, children in the United States, and around the world.”
“I briefed the President on the progress made this year through ALAS with the heads of state of Latin American governments, and explained that we have made early childhood development a central topic of discussion during the next Ibero-American Summit to take place in Argentina later this year.”
Shakira and President Obama first met at his inaugural ceremonies last January.
Before the meeting with President Obama, Shakira met with members of his staff where she inquired about the status of government policies to legalize 11 million undocumented immigrants who live in the United States. White House officials told Shakira that they are working hard to find a solution, and said they hope to reach an agreement this year with the Republican Party to legalize the undocumented immigrants.
Shakira also met with a group of the President’s advisors on education, national security, and social innovation. Members of both Obama’s and Shakira’s teams agreed to convene again next week to advance specific ideas to develop early childhood development programs among the Hispanic community in the United States.
The Colombian artist is a leading activist for children and the founder of ALAS, a coalition of Latin American artists and business leaders advocating for comprehensive ECD programs. She’s on her way to the World Bank to announce a groundbreaking $300 million initiative with World Bank President Robert Zoellick aimed at expanding development programs for young children in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Early Childhood Development (ECD) programs provide children with adequate nutrition, healthcare, and stimulating environments from the moment of conception through age 6—a period of development crucial for achieving a child’s full potential. The initiative will help expand ECD programs in a region where 9 million children under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition and 22 million lack access to early basic care.