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Rihanna receiving the Harvard Humanitarian award 2017

March 27, 2017

Each year, the Harvard Foundation of Harvard University presents the Humanitarian Award to an individual whose works have served to improve the quality of our lives and have inspired us to greater heights.  This award is given in the name of the Reverant Professor Peter J. Gomes, Plummer Professor and Minister in Harvard’s Memorial Church, and is authorized by the Dean of Harvard College and the President of Harvard University.

This year, the singer and philanthropist Rihanna was chosen to receive this prize. Indeed, in 2006 Rihanna found the organization Believe which aims to help children all around the world. The organization provides education, financing and medical support when and where children need it. Each year the organization permits the healing of 10 000 people in need of transplant for the bone marrow.

In the speech she made at Harvard, she reminds us of her origins; indeed she is from the Barbados and her grandmother was taken away by cancer. That’s why she donated more than 3.5 million of Barbadian dollars to the cancer service of the Queen Elizabeth hospital and the service took the name of her grandmother. She visited the hospital several times and sometimes with Prince Harry of England.

Apart from this, she often gives charity shows like in 2013 to collect funds after the tornado in the Philippines. She also participated in campaigns about the Global Warming. Last year, she tweeted the French President François Hollande about a letter she sent to him dealing with the subject of education in the world.

The ceremony for the award of Humanitarian of the year took place in a conference council at Harvard and several people spoke. First, the Reverant of the college who said a prayer for the assembly. Then, four students made speeches in honor of Rihanna and her commitment in the humanitarian cause. After  the songs of the choir, the President of Harvard and its foundation gave her the prize introducing her with a short speech in her honor. In her speech, the famous singer  reminded us of the importance of being a humanitarian and of helping people in need no matter if you are rich or not. She also insisted on the honor it was for her to receive this award, but still by being funny as she started her speech by saying “Well, I finally made it to Harvard !”.

I personally think it was interesting to choose her because she’s also well known for her escapades which make her closer to the people and can thus give her a greater chance to sensitize everyone, and notably the young people, to humanitarian causes. Moreover she has a huge audience all around the world; indeed, before she received it I had never heard of this award. She used her fame to attract a larger audience to humanitarianism.




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