Director Steven Spielberg, founder of the USC Shoah Foundation — The Institute for Visual History and Education, will present actor George Clooney with the Institute’s highest honor, the Ambassador for Humanity Award. The honor will be presented in New York on October 3 at the institute’s annual Ambassadors for Humanity gala.
The Turner Network Television-sponsored event will be a star-studded affair hosted by Jon Stewart. Norah Jones will give a musical performance and Sandra Bullock will make a special appearance in front of an audience of many of Clooney’s friends from the worlds of entertainment, politics and humanitarian activism.
Clooney, 52, is being recognized for his longstanding human rights work. The leading Hollywood actor is best known for his efforts to stop genocide in Sudan and to combat global poverty. He supports may other causes, including disaster relief, the environment, campaigns against slavery and human trafficking, and LGBT rights.
Clooney co-founded Not On Our Watch, a project focusing global resources and attention toward putting an end to mass atrocities around the world, together with Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, David Pressman and Jerry Weintraub.
“George’s leadership as a human rights advocate and activist has shed light on humanitarian crises across the globe. By speaking out for those whose voices might otherwise go unheard, George has been a beacon of hope, exposing crimes against humanity and advancing peacemaking through advocacy and action,” said Spielberg.
“His efforts around genocide awareness and prevention link closely with the mission of the USC Shoah Foundation, and I am honored to have this opportunity to recognize George as an Ambassador for Humanity.”
Steven Spielberg established the Shoah Foundation after completing the film “Schindler’s List.” It is tasked with collecting and preserving the video testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust.
Today, the Institute for Visual History is part of the University of Southern California’s Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. With its current collection of nearly 52,000 eyewitness testimonies in 33 languages and from 57 countries, it is one of the largest digital collections of its kind in the world.
Recently, the Institute has been working to expand the Visual History Archive with accounts of survivors and witnesses of other genocides. In the spring of 2013, it added an initial collection of 65 testimonies of survivors and rescuers from the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi genocide, and it is fundraising to add collections from the Armenian and Cambodian genocides.
The Ambassador for Humanity Award was first given in 2000. Since then, Bob Iger, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kirk Douglas, Wallis Annenberg and President Bill Clinton have been among the honorees.