18 January 2008 United States actor, filmmaker and human rights advocate George Clooney has been designated by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, to raise awareness of the world body’s peacekeeping efforts.
Mr. Clooney, who will join eight other internationally renowned individuals as Messengers to advocate on behalf of the UN and focus global attention on its efforts to improve the lives of billions of people, has been recognized for his work to focus public attention on crucial international political and social issues.
“You have seen first-hand the pain experienced by the victims of waI look forward to working with the United Nations in order to build public support for its critically important work in some of the most difficult, dangerous and dire places in the world.r and made it your personal mission to help end violence and human suffering,” Mr. Ban said, lauding Mr. Clooney’s “dedication to raising awareness and mobilizing action on Darfur.”
Mr. Clooney has been active in his endeavors to bring an end to the emergency in Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and another 2.2 million forced to flee their homes since fighting began in 2003 between Government forces and rebel groups. A joint UN-African Union hybrid peacekeeping force was recently deployed in a bid to stem the violence in the region.
“I am deeply honoured to receive this appointment,” Mr. Clooney said. “I look forward to working with the United Nations in order to build public support for its critically important work in some of the most difficult, dangerous and dire places in the world.”
In 2006, he visited Darfur with his father, and has also visited China and Egypt. That same year, along with Messenger of Peace, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, Mr. Clooney spoke to Security Council members at an “Arria formula” meeting, whereby non-governmental actors can address the Council outside official sessions.
Mr. Clooney served as executive producer and narrator of a documentary last year entitled “Sand and Sorrow,” which follows activists as they stop in refugee camps along Sudan’s border with Chad and interviews experts on the crisis.
In April 2007, “Not on Our Watch,” a non-profit organization in which influential people in the arts highlight mass atrocities worldwide, was co-founded by Mr. Clooney and several other US film industry leaders.
He will receive his designation and meet with countries contributing to UN peacekeeping efforts at the Organization’s Headquarters in New York on 31 January.
Current Messengers of Peace and their areas of focus are Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan (Millennium Development Goals and hunger); conductor Daniel Barenboim (peace and tolerance); author Paulo Coelho (intercultural dialogue); actor Michael Douglas (disarmament and peace and security); primatologist Jane Goodall (the environment); violinist Midori Goto (Millennium Development Goals and youth); cellist Yo-Yo Ma (youth); and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel (human rights and the Holocaust).
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