Popular R&B singer Rihanna has been awarded the Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award given out annually by Harvard University. This award is given out in recognition of prominent public-spirited leaders each year in honour of the late Rev. Professor Peter J. Gomes (Harvard Gazette). Past recipients include actor James Earl Jones, UN Secretaries-General Ban Ki-moon, and gender rights advocate Malala Youzafzai, among many other well-accomplished individuals.
Apart from her busy schedule being an international music phenomenon, Rihanna has done a lot in the area of volunteering and nonprofit work in the last few years. In 2012, she founded the nonprofit Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship Program, named after her grandparents, for students attending college in the US from Caribbean countries (Harvard Gazzette). This program is also in support of the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project which provides children with access to education in over 60 developing countries, giving priority to girls and those affected by lack of education in the world today (Harvard Gazette). In addition to this amazing work, Rihanna has used her earnings from being a musical sensation to build “a state-of-the-art center for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados,” said S. Allen Counter, the director of the Harvard Foundation (NYMag).
Last month, the 29-year-old traveled to Malawi and spent time talking with key educators, government officials, students, and mentors to promote education on behalf of her foundation and as an ambassador for Global Citizen and the Global Partnership for Education (People Magazine).
Rihanna will accept the award at Harvard University’s Campus on February 28th during the award ceremony which is open to students for free.