Matt Damon News Column (mattdamoncolumn) wrote,
Matt Damon News Column

Haiti panel discussion

  • Matt attended a panel discussion on Tuesday titled Change Haiti Can Believe In at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. Photos are at Getty Images and AP (below), with reports at the Boston Herald (including a photo) and the Boston Globe. Video of the forum discussion is available at the Partners in Health website.

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    So what if he grew up here, why would Matt Damon leave his manse in Miami and return yesterday to Siberian Boston? Because he's got a big heart. Jason Bourne's alter ego joined Partners in Health cofounder Paul Farmer, Haitian-American Representative Linda Dorcena Forry, and Brian Concannon Jr., the director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, for a wide-ranging talk at the JFK Library about the problems plaguing Haiti.

    Damon, who was in Haiti with Wyclef Jean last fall after Hurricane Ike touched down, said the country is in shambles, but getting anyone in the United States to notice isn't easy. "It's a lot easier to get on the news if you're promoting 'Bourne' than if you're talking about people dying 600 miles away for no reason," said the actor, admitting that his celebrity status has helped only minimally raise awareness about Haiti.

    Damon said it was heartbreaking to watch Haitians react to Jean, who's a local hero. "Wyclef represents hope for a lot of people there," Damon said. "There were people literally clinging to the UN truck, holding on, saying, 'Let me just stay close to you a little longer.' " Yesterday's forum attracted 1,200 people, an overflow crowd that included Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard and Senator John Kerry's daughter Vanessa.

  • Matt's interview at the Miami Herald is here.
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