“So I made it to Harvard,” said Rihanna upon receiving the Harvard Humanitarian of the Year Award at Harvard University on Tuesday, February 28. “Never thought I’d be able to say that in my life, but it feels good.” Watch video of Rihanna receiving the award above; her acceptance speech begins at the 1:16:25 mark.
Rihanna was honored for investing in programs that benefit Caribbean countries, including her native Barbados. She “charitably built 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 Harvard Foundation director S. Allen Counter in a statement last week. “In 2012, she founded the nonprofit Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship Program for students attending college in the U.S. from Caribbean countries, and supports 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 access to education in the world today.”
“I’m incredibly humbled by this, to be acknowledged at this magnitude for something that, in truth, I’ve never wanted credit for,” Rihanna continued. “When I was five or six years old … I would say to myself, ‘When I grow up and I get rich, I’m going to save kids all over the world.’ I just didn’t know I would be in the position to do that by the time I was a teenager. At 17 I started my career here in America, and by the age of 18 I started my first charity … All you have to do is help one person expecting nothing in return — to me, that is a humanitarian.”
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