NEW YORK (June 21, 2011) — Global education advocate and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira visited the Max Payne "Hand in Hand" School for Bilingual Education in Jerusalem today, meeting with students to talk about the power of education.
|UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira speaks with a student at the Max Payne Hand in Hand School for Bilingual Education in the city of West Jerusalem.|
She met with Jewish and Palestinian students who study together at the school, which uses bilingual education as a tool to help build peace, coexistence and equality. She toured the groundbreaking project, where every class is taught by two teachers (one Jewish, one Palestinian) and in two languages (Arabic and Hebrew).
Shakira said: "My visit to Max Rayne 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.
"I'm convinced, as many people are, that investing in education is the best strategy for peace and global stability, and the earlier, the better," said Shakira.
"Early investment, early childhood nutrition, and basic health care from birth through the age of six are essential for a child to develop the actual physical means to learn: to perform better in class, but also better throughout life."
The visit to Israel is part of Shakira’s ongoing work as an advocate for global education. She is calling for the expansion and improvement of comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
According to UNESCO's 2011 Global Monitoring Report, the number of children out of school is falling too slowly. Although progress has been made with an additional 52 million children enrolled in primary school since 1999, today there are still 67 million primary-school age children out of school globally.
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian aid organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health and immunizations, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency and disaster relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.
UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from 13 million in 1990 to 8.8 million in 2008. But still, 22,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood.
For additional information, please contact:
Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, (m) 646.428.5010, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kiní Schoop, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.922.2634, email@example.com