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Shakira advocates for children at the Summit of the Americas

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Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

(Read caption) Colombian singer Shakira walks with children through a crowd of fans in Cartagena, Colombia, April 12. The pop star and humanitarian will be meeting with heads of state who are attending a Summit of the Americas there. She is a long-time advocate of children's issues, including education.

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Latin American pop superstar Shakira will be at this weekend's gathering of the Western Hemisphere's leaders advocating for her favorite issues: early childhood development and universal education.

The singer and philanthropist will attend the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, and meet with heads of state, including President Obama. She'll also perform the national anthem of her home country, Colombia, at the opening ceremonies.

The international celebrity and humanitarian started two groups, the Barefoot Foundation in the United States and Columbia, and the ALAS foundation in Panama, that deal with helping children reach their full potential. She's also serves as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. In the United States, Mr. Obama appointed her to his President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

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"We’ve seen an increase in the number of programs directed at children between 0 and 6 years old, but it is still not enough and 35 million children from lower-income communities can’t access high-quality early childhood education programs in [Latin America] today," Shakira told Forbes in an interview before the summit. "We have to keep working to build more centers, to train more teachers, and to involve more parents in their children’s education. But we not only need more programs, we need better ones."

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