Ben Affleck didn't have much time to bemoan the fact that he didn't receive a Best Directing nomination for "Argo," a film that was nominated both for Best Picture and Best Editing. He had another award to accept. Affleck was honored for his work to raise awareness about the plight of the poor in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
LOS ANGELES (January 11, 2013) – The Cinema for Peace Foundation 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 star-studded 2013 Gala for Humanity at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. 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.
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Joining Affleck for his accolade at the dinner gala celebration were Thandie Newton, Dax Shepard, Kristin Bell, Alfre Woodard and Cheyenne Jackson along with Cinema for Peace Founder and Gala Co-Chair Jaka Bizilj, HFPA President Dr. Aida Takla-O'Reilly and Gala Chairs Claire and John Cauldwell, Roland Emmerich, Veronica Ferres, Cindy Hensley McCain, Jeff Robinov, Cathy Schulman, Jeff Skoll and Co-Chairs Christian Angermayer, Elmar Biebl, Ted Braun, Rosilyn Heller, Philip Morros, Steve Wozencraft and Oliver Prock, among many more. Musical entertainment was provided by the hit Congolese band Maisha Soul.
From the Eastern Congo Initiative website:
"The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is Africa's 3rd largest country and is home to over 68 million people. Since 1998, violent conflict, disease and poverty in the DRC have killed over 5 million men, women, and children—more than any war since World War II. As the conflict continues to simmer, more than 1.3 million people who have been forced from their homes live in crowded camps and with host families across the DRC.
"The humanitarian crisis is especially severe in eastern Congo. In some areas of eastern Congo, 2 out of 3 women have been victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence. Tens of thousands of children are recruited to become soldiers, and millions of people are denied the chance to earn a living and provide for their family due to continuing instability and poverty.
"The Eastern Congo Initiative was founded by Ben Affleck and other leading philanthropists to bring to light these atrocities, while advocating for action that will allow the people of Congo to forge their own path to stability and peace."
Photo credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Cinema for Peace.