Singer and Global Citizen Rihanna has had a busy year, on and off the stage. Now, Harvard University is honoring her with its prestigious Humanitarian of the Year prize.  

The Humanitarian of the Year, a distinction held by women’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai, actor James Earl Jones, and former U.N. Secretary Generals Ban-Ki Moon and Kofi Annan, among others, “recognizes prominent public-spirited leaders each year.”  

Rihanna, who performed at the 2016 Global Citizen Festival in New York and has campaigned on the Global Partnership for Education, was born in Barbados. She rose to fame in her teens with hits like “Pon De Replay” and “S.O.S.” She has sold over 200 million records, making her one of the best-selling artists of all time. 

Read more: Global Citizen Festival 2016: Rihanna Isn’t Just a Superstar — She’s a Super Giver as Well

In 2012, Rihanna created the Clara Lionel Foundation in honor of her grandparents, Clara & Lionel Braithwaite. The foundation supports education and health initiatives around the world. She also created the Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship Program for students attending college in the US from Central and South America.

She also built a state-of- the-art center for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat cancer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Rihanna has worked closely with Global Citizen on the Global Partnership for Education, which advocates for 330 million children who are not in school. In September, she successfully lobbied French President Francois Hollande to support the Education Cannot Wait fund, which led to a commitment of $2 million. 

In addition to France's $2 million commitment, Rihanna also supported our campaign efforts with Canada in the lead up to the festival by asking her fans to call Canadian PM Justin Trudeau which led to a $15.3 million dollar commitment to the Education Cannot Wait Fund so she actually helped secure $17.3 million for global education. Together, these commitments will ensure over 100,000 children displaced by the refugee crises or natural disasters do not miss out on an education.

Take Action: Ask World Leaders to Pledge to the Education Cannot Wait Fund for Kids in Crisis.

As if that’s all not enough, she even teamed up with Prince Harry to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS on World AIDS Day. 

Global Citizen congratulates Rihanna on this impressive accomplishment, and can’t wait to see what she does next! 


Demand Equity

Rihanna Was Just Named Harvard's Humanitarian of the Year

By Phineas Rueckert