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Shakira pushes education on visit to Jerusalem

June 21, 2011 8:31 P.M. (Updated: June 28, 2011 7:43 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Colombian pop diva Shakira said on Tuesday that education was the best way to achieve global stability and peace after meeting Israeli and Palestinian school children on a visit to Jerusalem.

Speaking at a joint press conference with President Shimon Peres, the 34-year-old singer said she had come to Israel to share some of her experience working in the field of education through her charity The Barefoot Foundation.

"I'm convinced that investing in education is the best solution for global stability and peace," she said, after being presented with a traditional Yemeni necklace by a young Israeli girl.

"Education is the very substance of peace. I'm convinced of that."

Earlier on Tuesday, the singer, who is a goodwill ambassador for the UN Children's Fund, visited two schools in the city, one of which is a bilingual Israeli-Palestinian school which educates children in Hebrew and Arabic in a bid to foster co-existence.

"I'm happy to be in Israel, the land which has been the mother of cultures and spirituality for so long," said the four-time-Grammy award winner who has penned hits such as "Hips don't lie" and "Waka Waka [This Time For Africa]".

"The most crucial decision we can make for a better tomorrow is how we raise and educate our children," the singer said.

Peres appeared delighted to be appearing next to the tiny Latin American diva, although the aging statesman addressed her several times as "Sharika" before being corrected by the audience of journalists.

"Your singing is a melody without violence, your priorities are directed to the poor... bringing them a message of a better world," he said. "Your rhythms are an inspiration."

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