Bwog’s Latin American Bureau Chief David Berke attended this afternoon’s installment of the World Leader’s Forum, starring Shakira!

Making the World Leaders Forum feel small and inadequate by comparison, professor/man’s last best hope Jeffery Sachs hosted The Children of Latin America: A Future Without Poverty, this afternoon, taking full advantage of the world leaders stuck in New York for the UN General Assembly. 

Shakira, best known in academic circles for finding that the center of all truth is in hips, was joined by Alejandro Sanz (who my Spanish-speaking friends inform me is also a big deal). Oh yeah, also, the presidents of Paraguay, El Salvador, Mexico, Argentina and Panama were in attendance. Sammy Sosa and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, along with numerous foreign dignitaries, sat in the audience.

Each Latin leader laid out his or her country’s current programs for alleviating child poverty, discussed future plans for its eradication and expressed hemispheric solidarity with the others onstage.  The southern quintet also promised, as per Shakira’s wishes, to put child poverty on the agenda for the next Ibero-American leaders conference.  ALAS, Shakira’s child poverty organization, advocates for the welfare of children ages 0-6.  ALAS’ reasoning is that stability during early development is critical to a child’s entire future.

The most notable speech came from Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo, a former priest and political neophyte who won the presidency about a month ago from entrenched political powers.  This trip to New York was his first international trip as President.  Lugo’s speech was impassioned and given with Obama-like charisma.  He won over the audience — though he professed total ignorance of both Shakira and Alejandro’s oeuvres.

The other highlight?  After Shakira finished her opening remarks, Jeffery Sachs, channeling Wyclef Jean, told the audience: “She makes a man want to speak Spanish.”