Washington: The Harvard Foundation has presented Colombian singer Shakira with its 2011 Artist of the Year award, an annual prize bestowed by the university`s centre for intercultural arts and science initiatives to honour the philanthropic activities of musicians, actors and writers.
Shakira, who is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and founder of the Barefoot Foundation to provide education and nutrition for children in impoverished parts of Colombia, accepted the prize at a cultural festival held Saturday at Harvard, the Boston Herald reported on its website.
After expressing her thanks for being honoured in this way, Shakira urged the university`s students to take advantage of their own opportunities and work to improve educational conditions in underdeveloped countries.
The director of the Harvard Foundation, S. Allen Counter, said that the Colombian artist was selected to receive the prize for her "distinguished history of creativity", as well as for her charitable contributions.
The singer, who has sold some 50 million albums during her career, continues to promote her bilingual work "Sale el sol/The Sun Comes Out", which includes her hit "Waka Waka" which she popularised at the South African World Cup.
The Foundation`s Artist of the Year award has been presented in the past to actresses Salma Hayek and Sharon Stone, actors Will Smith and Jackie Chan, and to jazz musician Herbie Hancock, among others.