Not long after I returned home the afternoon of the Brown University Graduation, where I proudly watched my husband receive an honorary Masters Degree, I went to check my e-mail. One of the first headlines on Yahoo to grab my attention was that Ben Affleck had received an honorary Doctorate Degree from Brown University that same day. Of course I had been sitting only a few rows away from where Ben and my husband sat up on the stage, so I knew that. What caught my attention in that brief blurb was that the reason they gave for him receiving the honor was simply that he had won an Oscar for Argo, and his work in film. I looked for other articles online about his Doctorate and there were plenty, but NONE of them mentioned one of the real reasons that ben Affleck was honored that day. This made me mad. Not only has he achieved a level of great success in the film industry, but even more admirable to me, and the reason he truly deserves his honorary Doctorate Degree, is that he has taken his celebrity, and used it for a higher global purpose. Ben Affleck is a passionate humanitarian who traveled to Tanzania with ONE in 2007, has written for the ONE.org blog, participated in the Live Below The Line campaign, most significantly he founded The Eastern Congo Initiative in 2010. That is a huge part of why he was honored by such a prestigious University, and I feel needs to be highlighted. This excerpt is from the Brown university Commencement program:
“In addition to his successful film career, Afleck is a passionate advocate and philanthropist. In March 2010, he founded the Eastern Congo initiative, the first U.S.-based advocacy and grant-making initiative wholly focused on the mission of helping people of eastern Congo support local community-based approaches that create a sustainable and successful society in the long-troubled region. Affleck is also a long time political activist, as well as a strong supporter of many charitable organizations, including Feeding America, Paralyzed Veterans of America, A-T Children’s Project and the Jimmy Fund.” – The Two Hundred and Forty-Fifth Brown University Commencement Program 2013
I had no intention of writing about Ben Affleck receiving his honorary doctorate Degree from Brown University on my blog. It’s not that I am not a fan of his work, I am a huge fan. I am also a proud Bostonian, but I’m not exactly a celebrity gossip blogger. However; I am a humanitarian and global awareness blogger, so was angered that the media missed out on this valuable opportunity to highlight an important cause, and the positive impact on humanity that this celebrity supports. Back when I travelled through that area of the world, what is now called the Democratic Republic of Congo was then called Zaire. When people ask me where my favorite place that I have ever travelled of the over 50 countries I’ve been to, I will often choose the DRC. It took us a month to travel through on the main “highway’ that often turned to mud by heavy rains, but I loved the strength of nature, and the great attitude of the people we met along the way. I was devastated several years after my amazing experience falling in love with that region, when the violence began to rip the area apart.
The Eastern Congo Initiative aims to increase investments to support community-based and sustainable programs in the eastern Congo, increase public awareness, and involvement in advocacy, and to drive policy changes, and U.S engagement in Congo. That is an additionally important reason why Ben Affleck received an honorary Doctorate Degree from Brown University. To find out more about The Eastern Congo Initiative visit the website, Like the Facebook page, follow ECI on twitter , donate funds to the programs supported by the initiative or you can even buy TOM’s shoes in partnership with the ECI. To find out why Ben Affleck founded the Eastern Congo Initiative you can watch the below video.
Congratulations Ben, you deserve to be recognized for the great work you are doing both in film and for humanity.