Rihanna Is Harvard’s Humanitarian Of The Year

Rihanna was honored as Harvard University’s Humanitarian of The Year on Tuesday.

The R&B singer received the prestigious honor of 2017’s Humanitarian of the Year by the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations.

Dr. S. Allen Counter, who is the director of the Harvard Foundation, introduced Rihanna at the ceremony, saying, “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… It is for these philanthropic initiatives, and other acts of compassionate sharing, that the students and faculty of the Harvard Foundation chose to honor Rihanna with the 2017 Humanitarian of the Year Award.”

Rihanna, looking elegant in an off-the-shoulder gown, took the stage to accept her award, according to People.

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The sassy singer got to the stage and joked with the audience, “So I made it to Harvard,”

“We’re all human, and we all just want a chance.

A chance at life, a chance at an education, a chance at a future, really. And at CLF [the Clara Lionel Foundation], our mission is to impact as many lives as possible, but it starts with just one.

Just one. As I stare out into his beautiful room, I see optimism, I see hope, I see the future. I know that each and every one of you has the opportunity to help someone else.

All you need to do is help one person and expect nothing in return. To me, that is a humanitarian.”

Rihanna started the Clara Lionel Foundation back in 2012 in honor of her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite.

The charity organization funds education, health, and emergency response programs. It also works to improve the lives of young people around the world.

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Although Rihanna did not attend college, she did say that there was always a possibility that she would pursue further education.

“The truth the little girl watching those commercials didn’t know, was that you don’t have to be rich to be a humanitarian. You don’t have to be famous, or college-educated.

I wish I was, especially today. I might come back!”


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Before the ceremonial event at Harvard, Rihanna reportedly took a tour of the university campus and had lunch at Henrietta’s Tabel in the Charles Hotel. According to the executive director of the Harvard Foundation, Dr. S. Allen Counter, Rihanna was nothing but “gracious” throughout the day with the students.

Rihanna passed off something she had learned from her grandparents before leaving the Harvard students on Tuesday, saying, “If you got a dollar, there’s plenty to share.”

Previous winners of the Harvard award include actor James Earl Jones and activist Malala Yousafzai.

[Featured Image by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]