There was no chest-popping nor hip-shaking in the Capitol last night. Well, at least not from international pop star Shakira.
The singer-turned-presidential-appointee instead displayed a rather professional stage presence as she was sworn-in as commissioner on the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. [Read about the performance gap between white and Hispanice students.]
The Colombian-born diva, though not an American citizen, was an obvious choice for the commission, says its Executive Director Juan Sepúlveda. "She's a global education advocate," he says. "Her scale and her reach--her experience in the area, but also the networks of people that want to be connected to her and to the president is going to be a good way to bring people in and say, 'This is an important issue. What are you going to do?'" [Read: The End Is Near for No Child Left Behind.]
Starting her first education foundation at age 16, Shakira now runs three--the Barefoot Foundation in the United States, Pies Descalzados in Colombia, and ALAS, which serves the broader Latin American region.
On the commission, she'll be focusing on early childhood education for Hispanics, an initiative close to her heart. She's agreed to help plan a national Latino summit for the cause. "The only road out of poverty is education," she said. "Investing in educational achievement for Latinos will not only determine the economic future and competitiveness of this nation, but can serve as a model for the world." [Read more about education policy.]
Shakira has been an avid Obama supporter since his 2008 campaign and even performed at his inaugural concert. "The Obama administration has made a point to improve Latino education," she said. " As I spoke to the president previously, I'm extremely passionate about working with the White House to plan an early childhood education summit in the coming years."