Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof talks about why he's compelled to regularly enlist the help of Hollywood celebrities like George Clooney... and George surprises Nicholas with a video blog from Mr. Clooney himself.
Kristof also explores how racism played a part in the world's failure to intervene in the crisis in Darfur.
Kristof and his partner, Sheryl WuDunn were in town as the keynote guests at the Inaugural BLUMA LECTURE at the Toronto Reference Library - a new annual lecture at the Toronto Public Library dedicated to the discussion of important issues by some of the world's most thoughtful opinion-leaders, and named in honour of Toronto philanthropist Bluma Appel.
They are the co-authors of 'Half the Sky', and they recently launched a pioneering game on Facebook. HALF THE SKY MOVEMENT: THE GAME is a Facebook game that raises funds and awareness to empower girls and women across the world.
In this clip, Nicholas talks about...
Why he needs celebrities to help draw attention to global issues:
George: "Now, you are at this place where we are a culture that values celebrities, so the fact that you have some, has changed your game as well, hasn't it? It has allowed you to go into places that perhaps you wouldn't have otherwise been able to go.
Nicholas: "I've had very mixed feelings about this, and I have indeed used celebrities at times, in the documentary for TV. We chose actresses, very prominent actresses, and went with them, because we thought that was a way of tugging people along. I once went to Darfur and brought George Clooney along because I thought that people would want to read about George Clooney, more than they would about Darfur-ies.
How racism played a role in world's reaction to the crisis Darfur:
George: "What do you make of some of the conversation, you hear it pop up every now and then, I know I spent some time going Darfur and even sub Saharan Africa you see this criticism of the 'great white hope'- the white savior coming in. What do you make of that?
Nicholas: "Essentially I think that it's profoundly wrong to inject race in any form in these kinds of issues. At the end of the day, the problem for Darfur hasn't been that white savors want to help them; it is that frankly, that their skin color is not white. The world was willing to help Kosovo, to help Bosnians, it was not willing to help Rwandans, or Darfuries. And I think that we should not be worrying about people's skin color one way or the other. As you know, you were there; the Darfuries want help from anyone who can provide it."