Pope Francis Honors George Clooney, Richard Gere and Salma Hayek

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Amal and George Clooney at the Vatican

The A-listers have agreed to work as ambassadors for the Scholas Occurrentes foundation’s arts projects.

George Clooney, Richard Gere and Salma Hayek on Sunday were feted at the Vatican. The actors and actress were honored before Pope Francis with the Olive Medal of Peace in an event to promote the Scholas Occurrentes foundation. In return, the A-listers have agreed to work as ambassadors for the foundation’s arts projects.

Scholas Occurrentes, or “schools that meet,” is a foundation that connects 400,000 schools and educational networks from various cultures and religions in 82 countries.

Speaking to the Italian media, Clooney said it "was a wonderful experience and it's a wonderful program that Scholas Occurrentes runs, causing so many different religions to speak of inclusion, because we know that hatred and fundamentalist attitudes are learned and indoctrinated."

Scholas Occurrentes, which often utilizes social media campaigns to further its initiatives, has recognized the power that celebrities have in influencing people around the world. "Important values can be transmitted by celebrities," said Lorena Bianchetti, an organizer of the event.

Amal Clooney joined her husband to meet the Pope, and Hayek was joined by husband Francois-Henri Pinault and daughter Valentina.

Vatican publicity focused more on the pontiff's meeting with children from around the world at the event. His Instagram account included a meet-and-greet photo with the quote: "To dialogue means to be able to listen, to put ourselves in someone else’s place, to build bridges."

His meeting with the foundation followed a three-day gathering of representatives from across the globe. Pope Francis autographed surfboards and held an informal Q&A session.

In response to questions about violence directed against children, the Pope responded that the world “needs to listen, needs gentleness, so we can all walk together,” according to Vatican Radio.