Grammy Award winning musician, songwriter and philanthropist Shakira has been honored by the Harvard Foundation as the 2011 Artist of the Year for her contributions to music and distinguished history of creativity as well as her humanitarian efforts through her Barefoot Foundation.

The singer will be awarded the Foundation's most prestigious medal, signed by Harvard president Drew Faust, at the 2011 Cultural Rhythms Ceremony at the University on February 26.

The Colombian artist who shot to the top of charts with raging hits such as Laundry Service (album), Hips Don't Lie and most recently the 2010 FIFA world cup anthem Waka Waka is equally known for her charitable work through Barefoot Foundation - an organization that she founded when she was only 18, with an aim to promote a better quality of life for children in impoverished areas by providing them with education and nutrition. Based in Colombia, the Foundation also has projects in other countries including South Africa and Haiti. Shakira is also an UNICEF goodwill ambassador.

The Harvard Foundation, Harvard's center for intercultural arts and sciences initiatives, honors the world's most acclaimed artists, scientists, and leaders each year. The Cultural Rhythms event, in particular, marks a festival involving thirty student groups of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds who get together to celebrate Harvard's cultural diversity through performances and ethno-cultural cuisine. Each year the students and faculty of the Harvard Foundation select a distinguished performing artist as Artist of the Year, who is feted and awarded in a special ceremony. Earlier recipients of the Artist of the Year award include Sharon Stone, Will Smith, Matt Damon, Denzel Washington and Halle Berry among others.