Voicing Latin American concerns

The top recording artist from Latin America, Shakira continues to raise her profile as a major philanthropist for the region.

Through her charitable foundation — named Pies Descalzos (or “bare feet”), after her breakthrough 1995 album — she helps impoverished children in her native Colombia. This year, she joined other recording superstars from Spain and Latin America — Alejandro Sanz, Ricky Martin and Mana, among them — to form the charity named ALAS (a Spanish acronym for Latin America in Solidarity of Action that also means “wings”). The org focuses on the future of Latin America by providing health care for its children.

In May, Shakira and dozens of other artists performed at dual outdoor concerts in Buenos Aires and Argentina to raise funds for the foundation. And earlier, she joined British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and World Bank President Robert Zoellick in a conference call for the Global Campaign for Education, aimed at children in developing countries.

On the artistic front, the 31-year-old native of Barranquilla solidified her crossover appeal with the 2005 dual release of Spanish- and English-language albums (“Fijacion oral Vol. 1″ and “Oral Fixation Vol. 2″), both with chart-topping hits and multiple industry accolades.

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