Shakira shakes up Oxford Union with address

AP News
Posted: Dec 07, 2009 2:51 PM

Michael Jackson and Mother Teresa. Stephen Hawking and the Dalai Lama. And now Shakira.

The Colombian pop singer _ famous for hits like "Hips Don't Lie" and "Whenever, Wherever" _ joined a diverse group of luminaries when she addressed the Oxford Union on Monday.

The 32-year-old, who is also a UNICEF ambassador, used her speech to hundreds of Oxford students to stress her belief in education for all. Many students had waited in the rain to see the pop star's appearance at the university's famous debating society.

"I was born in Colombia, growing up in the developing world where education is perceived as a luxury and not as a birthright," she said.

The pop star runs a charity that builds schools for poor children in Colombia. Shakira said her singing career has helped her campaign.

"I think those two paths have been so parallel in my life," she said. "My career gives me an enormous opportunity to communicate issues that I believe strongly should be communicated."

Oxford Union spokesman Conan McKenzie said Shakira's philanthropy was one reason to invite her, but added that "she's an immensely popular singer with a large fan base among Oxford students. And the Oxford Union has a tradition of inviting a wide variety of speakers."