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Sean Penn to Receive Humanitarian Award for Work in Haiti

Sean Penn in Haiti
Getty Images

The actor and founder of J/P Haitian Relief Organization will be presented with the 2012 Peace Summit Award.

The 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, among the most important annual events in the field of peacemaking, will honor actor and activist Sean Penn with the prestigious Peace Summit Award this year for his ongoing charitable efforts in Haiti.

Each year, the summit recognizes a high-profile personality who has made an outstanding contribution to international peace and social justice. Previous winners include U2's Bono, Annie Lennox, Don Cheadle, George Clooney and Peter Gabriel.

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As founder and CEO of J/P Haitian Relief Organization, Penn has been helping rebuild and aid the victims of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Penn is also being recognized for his ongoing advocacy for peace and human rights protection worldwide.

"It’s difficult to properly respond to this while avoiding cliché," Penn said in a statement. "But quite deliberately, 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."

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Looking forward, Penn added: “Tomorrow is a new day where cynicism is for cowards, and men of virtue and agency will be true heroes to their sons. Many in my generation know cowardice well, but not the youth, and not the women. And NEVER the Haitians."

The summit will be held in Chicago on April 23-25, marking the first time a North American city has hosted the global event.

"Chicago is honored to be the first North American city to host the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, and we look forward to welcoming distinguished guests from around the globe in April," said Mayor Emanuel, honorary co-chair of the World Summit Host Committee.

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"The decision to host this event in Chicago reflects the profile of our city as an international leader in civic dialogue and community involvement," the mayor continued. "While the Summit is a global event, it will have a local impact and leave a lasting legacy on our city."

The 12th World Summit, themed “Speak Up, Speak Out for Freedom and Rights,” will focus on peace, human rights and youth involvement.

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"This is a wonderful opportunity for Chicagoans--and young people in particular--to start a dialogue about empowerment and inspire one another to stand up for human rights at home, in the classroom, or on the world stage," Chairman Kerry Kennedy, president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, said.