Clooney, Cheadle receive peace award for Darfur


ROME -- George Clooney and Don Cheadle received a peace award Thursday for their efforts to raise awareness of the plight of the millions who have fled their homes in the Sudanese region of Darfur.

The actors were presented with a bronze statue by Italian sculptor Oliviero Rainaldi for "their efforts in favor of pacifying the tormented region of Darfur and for helping save lives," organizers said.

"We're part of a tiny group of people fighting for peace," Clooney, 46, said in a speech during a ceremony marking the opening of a yearly meeting of Nobel Peace Prize laureates organized at Rome's city hall by a foundation headed by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Besides Gorbachev and other Nobel winners, the Dalai Lama also took part in the ceremony on the Capitoline hill.

Clooney, who has raised money and campaigned for increased international attention for Darfur, called on the international community to increase efforts and support peace talks.

More than 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been uprooted since ethnic African rebels in Darfur took up arms against the Arab-dominated Sudanese government in 2003. Sudan's regime is accused of retaliating by unleashing a militia of Arab nomads known as the "janjaweed," an allegation Khartoum denies.

Clooney and Cheadle co-founded a humanitarian organization called Not on Our Watch together with other stars including Brad Pitt and Matt Damon to focus global attention on the plight of Darfur's people. They have raised more than $9.3 million for humanitarian efforts in the region.