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Shakira urges Davos elite to nurture future leaders

By Martinne Geller

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Music star Shakira urged world and business leaders at the opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum on Monday to support efforts to feed, educate and care for underprivileged children.

"Today's babies will drive tomorrow's business. Their capacity to contribute will shape tomorrow's societies, will solve tomorrow's problems," the Colombian recording star, who is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador devoted to early childhood development, said in an impassioned speech.

Shakira, who was given a Crystal Award in Davos for her humanitarian work, is the founder of the Pies Descalzos Foundation, which works to provide underprivileged children in Colombia with access to quality education.

"In this room there are some of the most powerful people in the world, and definitely I'm convinced you know what it means to be ahead of the curve," she added.

"We need to apply the brains and strategies of business and the assets and human resources and talents of your companies to do social good and to solve social problems."

The World Economic Forum also gave awards to violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, who runs a foundation providing scholarships for young musicians, and actor Forest Whitaker, who has worked as a global advocate for peace, focusing on empowering youth as leaders and entrepreneurs in communities touched by violence and poverty.

(Editing by Andrew Roche)

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