Rihanna has been named the 2017 Harvard University Humanitarian of the Year on Thursday for her work promoting healthcare and education in the Caribbean. She joins the ranks of honorees like James Earl Jones, Sharon Stone and activist Malala Yousafzai.

Rihanna’s Named Harvard’s Humanitarian Of The Year

Praising Rihanna’s philanthropic work, Harvard Foundation’s director S. Allen Counter said: “Rihanna has 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.”

In addition to her work in healthcare, the 29-year-old Barbados-born singer has also addressed education in developing countries.

“She has also created the Clara and Lionel Foundation Scholarship Program [named for her grandmother and grandfather] for students attending college in the U.S. from Caribbean countries, and supports the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project, a multiyear campaign that will provide 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,” Counter said.

Rihanna, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, has sold more than 200 million records. She was named the creative director of sportswear company PUMA in 2014. The singer also recently visited a school in Malawi, East Africa, touring classrooms and meeting the “bravest, most humble kids.”

“Giving back is important to me and it should be important to everyone,” Rihanna said.

The award will be presented on Feb. 28 at 4 p.m. at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre. Admission is free, but tickets are required; to purchase a ticket requires a Harvard ID.


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