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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Clooney, Cheadle awarded for Darfur efforts

George Clooney and Don Cheadle were awarded top humanitarian honors in Italy on Thursday. The honored Hollywood actors who are distinguished and respected for their extremely private lives as well as personal conduct have received a peace award for their tireless efforts to bring a call to action for the plight of the millions suffering in the Sudanese region of Darfur. A bronze statue by Italian sculptor Oliviero Rainaldi was presented to both actors for "their efforts in favor of pacifying the tormented region of Darfur and for helping save lives," organizers said.

Clooney, 46, said in a speech during the opening ceremony of the annual meeting of Nobel Peace Prize laureates held at Rome's city hall, "We're part of a tiny group of people fighting for peace.” The Nobel Peace Prize laureates meetings are organized by a foundation headed by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Also in attendance and in addition to Gorbachev were other Nobel winners including the Dalai Lama to partake of the ceremony on the Capitoline hill.

Clooney has raised both money and campaigned to raise international awareness and focus for Darfur. He continues to implore the international community to increase their efforts as well as support the necessary peace talks. More than 200,000 people are said to have died during this war. As many as 2.5 million people have been displaced since African rebels in Darfur commenced retaliation against the Arab-dominated Sudanese government in 2003.

The war will most likely continue to take its victims and toll on so many millions as a result the escalation of fighting in the region without international intervention. Clooney and Cheadle are co-founders of the humanitarian organization called Not on Our Watch together. Along with other stars including Matt Damon, the organization’s plight to bring international awareness to the multifaceted difficulties facing millions of Darfur's people is being achieved. Together they have raised more than $9.3 million for humanitarian efforts in the region.

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