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Rubén Blades, the Panamanian singer-songwriter, will receive the "Medal of Arts" from Harvard. Photo: gettyimages.
Rubén Blades, the Panamanian singer-songwriter, will receive the "Medal of Arts" from Harvard. Photo: gettyimages.

Rubén Blades to receive Harvard Arts Medal

Harvard University will award the highest distinction to Panamanian singer-songwriter Rubén Blades. This is the first time that a Latino receives an Arts Medal.

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“Rubén Blades has infused the many aspects of his remarkable career with deep humanity and passionate intensity. He is a phenomenal musician, a talented actor, and a devoted public servant, and we look forward to welcoming him back to campus and to celebrating his manifold achievements in the arts,”  said President Larry Bacow about the award to be received by the Panamanian singer-songwriter on Thursday, April 28.

The university awarded the "Medal of the Arts" to the Panamanian musician, actor and politician as early as 2020; however, due to sanitary conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the award ceremony could not take place that year. This is the first time the distinction will be given to a former Harvard student of Latino origin.

The "Medal of Arts", considered the highest Harvard distinction given to graduates, will be awarded at a ceremony to be held at the Sanders Theater. The ceremony will stream on the HarvardArts YouTube channel.

In this event, the singer-songwriter will participate in a conversation with the actor John Lithgow and the director of the Harvard Jazz Band, Yosvany Terry. The band will make a musical presentation, in which Blades  will also sing as a guest.

 

HARVARD MEDAL OF ARTS

The Medal of the Arts has been awarded since 1995 to a distinguished graduate or faculty member of Harvard who has "achieved excellence in the arts and contributed through the arts to education or the public good”. 

In the list of 26 winners of this medal are: John Adams, singer-songwriter Bonnie Raitt, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and saxophonist Joshua Redman.

WHO IS RUBEN BLADES?

Rubén Blades studied Law at the University of Panama and at Harvard University. He has an honorary doctorate in Chicano Studies from the University of Berkeley (California), in Humanities from Lehman College, CUNY (Bronx, New York) and Music from the Berklee College of Music (Boston, Massachusetts).

Throughout his musical career, he won 22 Grammy Awards and participated in more than 25 own record productions and in collaborations with other artists. He was nominated for the Emmy Awards three times.

In addition to singing, he also developed his acting career in at least 40 movies and television series.

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