To Join Sachs, World Leaders at Columbia

“Whenever, wherever, we’re meant to be together.” Well, not us—but Latin American heads of state and Jeffrey Sachs will join pop singer Shakira to discuss children’s poverty together on Sept. 24 at Columbia. Various celebrities will meet at the event, organized by the Earth Institute. State leaders include Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa of Mexico, Cristina Elizabet Fernández de Kirchner, of Argentina, Elias Antonio Saca González of El Salvador, and Panamanian president Martín Erasto Torrijos Espino . “I think it’s awesome—I actually didn’t know that she was an activist, so I was surprised,” April Trusty, SEAS ’11 said of Shakira. As it turns out, Shakira, a Colombian-born singer with hits such as “Underneath Your Clothes,” “Whenever, Wherever,” and “Hips Don’t Lie,” will participate in the event in her capacity as an advocate of América Latina en Acción Solidaria, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to the advancement of children’s welfare in Latin America. According to the ALAS Web site, of the 54 million children in Latin America under age five, 32 million live in poverty. Other well-known ALAS activists include singers Ricky Martin, Thalia, Juanes, Jennifer Lopez, Daddy Yankee, Marc Anthony, and Wyclef Jean. Jeffrey Sachs—academic superstar, director of the Earth Institute, Quetelet professor of sustainable development, and professor of health policy and management—will play host to these distinguished guests. Sachs previously shared the spotlight with Angelina Jolie and John Legend. According to an e-mail from the Earth Institute, the topic of discussion will be “building a future without poverty for the children of Latin America.” The appearance of Shakira—the top-grossing Colombian singer of all time—and these Latin American leaders comes in the wake of high-profile visits from Senators Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Barack Obama (D-Ill.). “Sounds like that’s a lot of fanfare, which we’ve been getting a lot of lately,” Nicole Mizrahi, BC ’10, said. “These types of events make me so happy to go to Columbia University.” Shakira’s connections with ALAS are not as well known as her other skills, such as belly-dancing. “I don’t know anything about her supposed activism,” Hannah Lepow, CC ’11, said. “I would assume that it’s just a shtick.” Some students, such as Peter Sabino, SEAS ’11, had never heard of Shakira, much less of her advocacy. “If people have heard of her, she must be good, right?” Sabino said. There will also be a live Web-cast. The location for the event has not yet been determined, but an Earth Institute representative said the logistics will be finalized soon.

**Graceful One**