Shakira in the Economist & on the cover..

1) How does it feel to be on the cover of the world’s most influential publication?

It’s a great honor; I was quite surprised and humbled to see myself alongside the likes of individuals such as President Obama. It is something I could have never imagined. Beyond the initial surprise though, I am so heartened and glad that such importance is being placed on the topic of education. This is a reflection that as individual people and members of civil societies, we can bring awareness to the rest of the world and call our governments to action on pressing issues, such as this one, that do not always receive the attention they merit.

2) What do you mean by a global fund for education?

I believe there are certain issues that transcend the geographical and sovereign boundaries of nations and become part of a global effort where every country can play a crucial role. This has been the case with the fight for global human rights, the struggle against the AIDS epidemic and malaria. It is imperative that the same actions be taken for education; sooner rather than later education must become a lawful right to which everyone is entitled and is globally protected by a collective global alliance. A single child without a proper education is a problem that befalls on everyone’s shoulders; a child with an education is an opportunity for the entire world. I hope President Obama will soon lead the agenda on this initiative. I am certain he shares the same vision I do; his recent commitment of US$2 billion for the creation of a global education fund for the Americas is testament to this.

3) When you say that someone who is born poor dies poor, to what countries do you refer?

It is a universal rule that applies to every single country. A child born into poverty and who lacks basic access to nutrition or to a good education is almost certainly doomed to a life of poverty. There really is only one way to break the chains of poverty and that is through education. It starts at birth with early childhood stimulation.

4) What do you feel the model of the Barefoot Foundation has successfully proven?

The model is proof that the private sector can play a role in the developmental trajectory of a country. It is proof that the public and private sectors can work together successfully and that civil society has both the drive and the predilection to find and build connections and associations that will lead to better and more effective end results. While I have achieved a lot through the Foundation, this has only been possible with the collaboration and partnership of individuals such as Carlos Slim, Howard Buffet, Alejandro Santo Domingo, Bruce MacMaster, Antonio Celia, Samuel Azout, former President Clinton, Frank Giustra, Haim Sabant, among many others who dedicate ever-growing amounts of their time to pursue those philanthropic causes they believe in. They invest their money and their time in ways that have historically never been seen before.

5) In what ways is the Barefoot Foundation different from the ALAS Foundation?

The Barefoot Foundation/Fundacion Pies Descalzos is focused on the construction and administration of schools and community facilities. Today, we have five thousand students who receive a high quality education and basic nutrition at our schools and thirty thousand people participating in some way from the communal activities offered through the schools, which also serve as community centers. The ALAS Foundation is focused on building a regional alliance to implement early childhood development. This is the most effective and highest return investment that a government can make and we want it to be at the forefront of every government’s agenda in the region.

6) ALAS does not build schools?

No, ALAS neither receives nor manages public funds. What it has achieved is to convoke all the multilateral organizations, governments, and experts and specialists such as Jeffrey Sachs of ColumbiaUniversity, to join the Ibero-American Secretariat for Early Childhood Development and to create a regional strategy that individual countries can implement in order to achieve universal early childhood development in the region. The formation of this Secretariat and for all these different organizations to be working together on creating this plan is a huge success. The largest challenge we face now will be whether every government chooses to implement this strategy or not.

7) What is the objective of this plan that is being developed by the experts and specialists?

The objective is a critical path of specific commitments that each government must make year after year to achieve universal early childhood education within the next decade. If Latin America were to successfully achieve this, we would be changing our destiny forever. It would eradicate inequality and violence.

8) In the article, you say that education is the best security plan a government can have. How does this concept work?

Globally, trillions of dollars are spent annually to protect us from violence. The United States’ occupation of Afghanistan, the ever-growing size of police forces, the private sector’s creation of private security forces to protect their families — all in all, this is an incalculably large sum of money and despite these efforts, violence continues to escalate. There is only one security plan that will achieve real results: education. A stimulated child with a good education has the necessary tools and skills to avoid the industry of violence. A child that lacks these tools is dragged into a world of violence without even consciously realizing this. No private army or federal army can prevail.

the economist nov 09[2].pdf


About Brian Currin
Playlist Creator | Web Marketer The son of a church organist father and pianist mother, South African born Brian Currin grew up surrounded by music. In his pre-teen years he realised that he had no real talent for playing music and he couldn't sing, so he immersed himself in the world of music by listening, exploring and researching. Which he still does today. He spent many years in corporate sales and marketing until his involvement in the re-discovery of Rodriguez, opened up a whole new world for him. He can sometimes be found behind-the-counter at Mabu Vinyl, the iconic music store seen in the Oscar-winning "Searching For Sugar Man" film. He can be heard on the streaming radio stations All Jazz Radio and Shelter Radio He is also very involved in promoting South African music, and is the co-owner of a number of music-related websites including which he founded in 1999.

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