In the Jury’s opinion, the Oscar winner exploits his popularity and fame to the full in order to draw attention to crises and conflicts that the public has all but forgotten. Particular mention is made of his commitment to those who have been threatened for many years by starvation, rape and murder in Sudan’s Darfur Region. Clooney has visited refugee camps and war zones and has addressed the United Nations Security Council.
The magazine Newsweek called Clooney on its cover a “21st-Century Statesman” and described him as a man who was politically effective without being a politician. The particular impact of his “celebrity diplomacy” has become clear on several occasions in the last few months. For example, he was arrested with his father on 16 March this year at a demonstration in front of the Sudanese Embassy, he just missed being hit in a bombing raid in Sudan and he contracted malaria during a visit to a refugee camp there. Things like this would deter some activists but Clooney uses his fame to ensure that more attention is paid to an issue of particular concern to him.
In giving their reasons for their choice, the Jury said the mobilisation of public opinion and the publicity gained had become a bulwark against atrocities and violence. Clooney’s words and actions, as well as his pictures and documentations, give vulnerable human beings who are pushed aside with no protection a face, a voice and hope.
Media Control has awarded the Prize since 1992 to outstanding personalities. Previous winners of the Prize have been Helmut Kohl, François Mitterrand, Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, Boris Yeltsin, King Hussein of Jordan, Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Gerhard Schröder, Rudolph W. Guiliani, Queen Rania of Jordan and Silvia of Sweden, Kofi Annan, Hillary Clinton, Bono, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Sir Richard Branson.
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