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Ben Affleck Wins First Cinema for Peace Humanitarian Award

benaffleck_gfh.jpgLOS ANGELES – On Friday, January 11th, Cinema for Peace presented Academy Award-winning actor, filmmaker and founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative, Ben Affleck, with its coveted Cinema for Peace Humanitarian Award at the 2013 Gala for Humanity at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Affleck was honored for his courageous efforts to raise awareness about the catastrophe in the Democratic Republic of Congo and his stand against the injustices experienced by the Congolese.

Official supporters  included The Hollywood Foreign Press Association/Golden Globes and Participant with Jeff Skoll and Jim Berk.

„I am inspired by the amazing resilience and determination of the Congolese, who remain committed to helping their neighbors and rebuilding their communities even in the face of violence and suffering”, Ben Affleck said in his acceptance speech. He continued by lauding the Congolese people for their resilience in the face of war, “And I got there and what I saw amazed me. I saw people who lived there, the Congolese who lived in Bukavu and the cities, getting up and going to work. Even though bombs were going off. You know, dealing with their marriages, trying to parent their children, trying to get the things they needed from the stores, even though their society was completely blown to smithereens. And as the one strongest impression that has ever been made on me in my life, which is, the power of the human spirit and of people to go on.”
The President of the Golden Globes, Dr. Aida Takla-O'Reilly made ​​a dedicated speech in which she gave examples of how movies have brought about social changes such as, inter alia, the right to divorce in Egypt, from which substantial discrimination against women was removed based on the reception of a popular film. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the first Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, stated that Congo was the first case he prosecuted after taking office, and he highlighted the fact that Congolese communities are being destroyed by systematic rape until this day.

The Cinema for Peace Gala for Humanity benefited Ben Affleck’s Eastern Congo Initiative, which is the first U.S. based advocacy and grant-making initiative wholly focused on working with and for the people of eastern Congo. It was founded in 2010.

On Sunday Ben Affleck was further awarded with two Golden Globes – one for the Best Director – Motion Picture and another for the Best Motion Picture - Drama, both for the movie “ARGO”, which is a dramatization of the 1980 joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran.