Happy Birthday, Shakira! 10 Reasons She Makes the World a Better Place

Shakira turns 36 today! While the Colombian pop star celebrates newfound motherhood, we are honoring her by counting down all of the ways she has made the world a better place. Let us count the ways...

1. Shakira Birthday: Baby Shower

A World Baby Shower

The world was invited to participate in Shaki’s virtual baby show in honor of her son, Milan! The Colombian pop star joined forces with UNICEF to create Shakira and Gerard Pique’s World Baby Shower, which encouraged fans to donate and support healthy childhood development in less fortunate countries.

2. Shakira Birthday: Waka Waka

Waka Waka

The difference a hit song can make! Shakira’s “Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)” became a global phenomenon after becoming the theme song for the 2012 Fifa World Cup. She donated all of the proceeds to Fifa’s “20 Centers for 2010” campaign, which would help build 20 facilities to promote public health, education, and football in disadvantaged communities across Africa.

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Using Her Fame for a Good Cause

As laudable as Pies Descalzos was, Shakira wanted to take her fight for the right of children to be educated and lifted out of poverty to all of Latin America. So she, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and a host of artists including Ricky Martin, Juanes and Miguel Bose, started ALAS in 2006. Shakira famously announced the group’s $40 million donation to help Peru and Nicaragua rebuild after natural disasters. The non-profit has raised millions and worked with governments and billionaires like Carlos Slim to help children.

4. Shakira Birthday: UNICEF

Her Work With UNICEF

In 2003, Shakira was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for the non-profit. "Shakira, like all our Goodwill Ambassadors, was chosen based on her compassion, her involvement in global issues, her deep commitment to helping children, and her appeal to young people around the world. We're very pleased to have Shakira join the UNICEF family. I know she'll help bring UNICEF's mission to the audience who will have the most impact on our future – young people themselves,” said UNICEF's Executive Director Carol Bellamy.

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Yes she can!

Having met presidents, prime ministers, popes, philanthropists and, well, just about anyone who wields massive power, Shakira was invited to perform at Pres. Barack Obama’s historic inauguration in 2008. Wearing liquid latex pants and a jacket, she sang “Higher Ground” with Usher and Stevie Wonder.

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Keeping the Peace

Having worked to better the lives of children for 15 years, Shakira flew to Switzerland in May 2010 to receive the United Nation’s Social Justice for Peace Award. UN labor chief Juan Somavia described Shakira as a “true ambassador for children and young people, for quality education and social justice."

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Educating Latinos

Few celebs have the bonafides that Shakira does when it comes to improving education for Hispanic children. No wonder that Pres. Obama chose her for his Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Wearing a demure balck shift and heavy bangs, she made an impassioned three-and-a-half minute speech: “Investing in the educational achievement of this vulnerable population will not only help determine the economic future and competitiveness of this nation, but can serve as a model for the world,” she said. “I am grateful to have an opportunity to support and inform such important work. I hope that through my appointment to this commission, I will be able to share what I've learned through the 15 years I have been involved in the education of Latino children. As we all know, race and ethnicity shouldn't be factors in the success of any child.”

8. Shakira Birthday: ALAS

ALAS Concert for Kids

In 2008, Shakira hosted concerts in Buenos Aires and Mexico City to support the ALAS Foundation’s campaign. Her ‘concierto por los niños’ helped raise $200 million for the cause.

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Performing for Peace

On tour in 1998, Shakira stopped by the Vatican after being granted an audience with Pope John Paul II. As a Goodwill Ambassador for Colombia, she asked for his intervention in the embattled country’s peace process.

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Heal the World

This is how you know that Shakira’s humanitarian work isn’t window-dressing. She founded Pies Descalzos Foundation in 1995 to bring attention to child development in Colombia. It now feeds and educates thousands across Colombia and has a sister foundation that exports the nonprofit’s methods to places like Haiti.