WASHINGTON — Chart-topping country star Taylor Swift is to be honored by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights for her “commitment to social change,” the non-profit organization said Friday.
Swift, 22, a multiple Grammy winner who spent the July 4 holiday with the Kennedy clan on Cape Cod, will receive the center’s Ripple of Hope Award at a black-tie dinner December 3 in New York hosted by actor Alec Baldwin.
Getting the same laurel — whose past recipients include U2 front man Bono, actor George Clooney and, last year, former vice president Al Gore — on the same night will be Wall Street investment banker Vincent A. Mai.
"Taylor Swift’s dedication to advocacy at such a young age continues to inspire me, and I’m delighted to honor her as one of our 2012 Ripple of Hope Award recipients," the center’s president Kerry Kennedy said in a statement.
She cited Swift’s support for arts education and disaster-stricken communities, “and especially the compassion she’s shown as a proud defender against bullying and LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) discrimination,” as the motivations for the prize.
"As a young person, Taylor has already accomplished so much, and I look forward to watching all that she will do to help build a brighter, more peaceful world for us all."
A spokeswoman for the center, in an email to AFP, said the Ripple of Hope Award “lauds leaders of the international business, entertainment, and activist communities who demonstrate commitment to social change.”
Kerry Kennedy is a daughter of Robert Kennedy, a civil rights activist and US attorney general under his brother, slain president John F. Kennedy, who was himself shot dead in 1968 when he was running for the White House.
Her mother, Ethel Kennedy, founded the center, which also gives out a human rights award in recognition of international social justice champions.
In May, Swift — who Forbes magazine named Thursday as the richest celebrity under the age of 30, earning $57 million in the year to May — pledged $4 million to the Country Music Hall of Fame for an education center in her name.
She has also performed in benefit concerts to raise money for Tennessee flood victims.
Tickets for the New York gala went on sale on the Eventbrite website this week, running from $1,500 for a single guest up to $250,000 for two seats at the head table plus a “premium table” for 10.