I attended a lecture by UN Ambassador Lakdhar Brahimi this evening at Cornell University and managed to get a couple questions in on the situation in Darfur and celebrity support. In terms of background, you can’t get much deeper than Brahimi. Not only was he the UN representative in Iraq and Afghanistan; he’s also until recently been the special adviser to the Secretery-General in NY. His new role is as a UN Envoy for the Darfur crisis. As we’ve often mentioned, there’s tremendous desperation and displacement in this region; with over 2.5 million refugees and close to 200,000 estimated dead. Celebrities have attempted to get the word out through activism with campaigns such as Rock Darfur! I was curious to see how a politician on the inside thought of their efforts.
Ecorazzi: “Ambassador Brahimi, we’ve seen efforts by people like George Clooney and his father Nick to bring home video and stories of the suffering in Darfur. With campaigns like Rock Darfur! and others, do you believe celebrities are doing more than politics to bring awareness to the situation?”
Brahimi: “I’ve never met Clooney. I’ve seen some of the video, however, and it’s fantastic. The media, the celebrities, they’re all amazing. Every bit of support helps. I met with a group of celebrities last week in London. The support is encouraging. I met an American actor, not Clooney, I can’t remember his name. The enthusiasm from this gentleman was excellent. Every bit helps. Every bit. We’re trying.”
Did I mention it was brief? But hey, it was encouraging to hear that conversation between those on the inside and those out there working for change is occurring. The questions is, who’s doing a better job?