Sean Penn honored by Nobel group for work in Haiti

From Haiti Now Managing Editor Lyssa Fils-Aimé Hargrove’s e-mail:

Sean Penn continues to do great work in Haiti and I am happy to see the world recognize him in this new “role”. This time he is being recognized by the Nobel Laureates with a 2012 Peace Summit Award, presented in March during the annual meeting of Nobel Peace Prize laureates.

He has been a good and faithful friend to Haiti since the 2010 earthquake and on behalf of the Diaspora, I will say that we appreciate his presence in the country.

To read more about Sean Penn receiving this award for his relief effort, check out a couple of articles below:


Nobel Peace Prize laureates honor actor Sean Penn for work in earthquake-devastated Haiti

By Associated Press,

CHICAGO — Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn gave an emotional speech Wednesday urging the world community to help Haiti as he accepted an award from a gathering of Nobel Peace Prize laureates for his humanitarian work in the earthquake-ravaged country.

“It’s an overused phrase I know, but I trust you know its genuine today, I am humbled. I’m trembling and I like it,” Penn said after accepting the 2012 Peace Summit Award from former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who was joined on stage by the Dalai Lama and former Polish President Lech Walesa.

Penn has become a major player in efforts to rebuild Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake that devastated the island nation, flattening thousands of buildings, killing more than 300,000 people and leaving at least 1.5 million homeless.

He used his speech at the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates to urge the world community to remember Haiti and invest in the country’s future and President Michel Martelly, who took office in May 2011.

“We have a very short window to support this team of the Haitian people’s choosing,” Penn said.

Papers in Penn’s hands shook and he became emotional at times during his speech as he described conditions in Haitian refugee camps or told the story of a Haitian police officer who lost his family in the earthquake. Penn also warned that if Haiti fails it could become a harbor for narcotics trafficking and terrorism near the United States.

Penn is the first non-Haitian to be designated an ambassador-at-large for Martelly. The actor is CEO of the J/P Haitian Relief Organization, a rapidly growing and increasingly prominent aid group. The organization manages two camps that are home to about 18,000 people.

Penn spends at least half his time in Haiti.

“He actually exchanged his home in Malibu for a tent,” Udo Janz, United Nations high Commissioner for Refugees, said when he introduced Penn to accept the award. “Think of it as the Oscar for your humanitarian commitment Sean.”

Penn won his first Academy Award for Best Actor in 2003 for “Mystic River” and his second in 2009 for “Milk.”



Nobel laureates honor Sean Penn

By Moni Basu , CNN

(CNN) — In Haiti, actor Sean Penn brushed aside mockery in the media for his penchant for taking up causes. Someone, he said, had to do something after the devastating earthquake.

Now he’s being recognized for his efforts. Penn will be presented with the 2012 Peace Summit Award next month during the annual meeting of Nobel Peace Prize laureates.

Every year, the Nobel Laureates honor a cultural or entertainment personality who has promoted peace and stood up for human rights.

The laureates are honoring Penn’s work in 2010, when he left Hollywood glamor behind and set up shop on the slopes of a private golf club in Port-au-Prince, where thousands of homeless Haitians sought shelter under makeshift tents.

The charitable organization he founded, J/P Haitian Relief Organization, managed the camp of 50,000 people, helping with food, sanitation and health care.

He insisted then that he would be there for the long haul; that he was more than a celebrity goodwill ambassador who dropped in to smile with orphaned kids for a day.

“Pretty soon, we were managing a camp,” he said in 2010. “Then you find you are filling a gap and you feel responsibility to keep going.”

His aid agency is still in Haiti, working, it says, to lift Haiti out of poverty.

The Oscar-winning Penn, star of “Dead Man Walking,” “Mystic River” and “Milk,” said he was grateful to be honored by the Nobel laureates.

“It’s difficult to properly respond to this while avoiding cliche,” he said. “I’m thrilled to receive this tribute and to represent it to the youth of Haiti, the strong women of Haiti, and of the world.

“Many in my generation know cowardice well, but not the youth, and not the women. And never the Haitians,” he said.

Haiti was hardly Penn’s first humanitarian endeavor, though it was arguably his most ambitious project to date.

A few years back, he traveled to Iraq and Iran and wrote about both countries for the San Francisco Chronicle.

He was in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina — his right arm bears a tattoo that says: “NOLA, Deliver Me.”

His presence in Haiti and all those other places drew skepticism from those who think that celebrities use tragedies to burnish their public images.

But Penn moved forward, undeterred, with his relief work in Haiti.

Past winners of the Peace Summit Award include musician Bob Geldof and actor and director Roberto Benigni.

The Chicago summit in April will bring together Nobel laureates from 17 nations.


1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. eileen de santillana  |  May 20, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    As diplomats, my husband & I served in Haiti two terms and truly fell for it, and the extraordinary resilience of its people. Haitians despite the many challenges they have faced in the past and continue at present never seem to lose their beautiful smiles and hope…….BRAVO for Sean Penn, an amazing human being!


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