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Haiti panel discussion - Matt Damon News Column
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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.
  • 7 comments or Leave a comment
    Comments
    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 28th, 2009 01:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Haiti Panel Discussion

    Thanks for posting the links for the event. Matt turning up ensured they got a full house.

    I think Matt's heart is certainly in the right place, the world could certainly use a lot more compassion right now, but the situation in Haiti won't change because governments are struggling to keep their own economies from sinking.

    I try not to be a pessimist but I can't see things changing any time soon.

    If it's not too flippant a comment, thanks very much for those lovely pics, he has the greatest smile in the world! Marcia
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: January 30th, 2009 11:18 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Haiti Panel Discussion

    The discussion is quite fascinating, if you have time to watch the video (and depending on the speed of your computer, it could be a very long watch). Lucy may be in the front row, and Marc Joubert of OneXOne was definitely there, as was mother Nancy and her husband Doug Kline.

    Speakers Paul Farmer and Brian Concannon are amazingly educated, eloquent and persuasive. Very impressive guys. Matt sits next to Paul Farmer, and is on screen (at the edge) for a significant amount of time - and often smiling/laughing at Paul's comments.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 28th, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

    video

    Good for Matt.

    He looks to me like he's been working out in preperation for playing a rugby player - look at the size of his neck. And the reappearance of the black sweater! lol. Do you think he's got a whole drawer full of them?
    Paula
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: January 30th, 2009 11:13 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: video

    Nice memory! There was a time when almost every appearance involved the black sweater.
    From: jeff_in_utah Date: January 29th, 2009 02:53 am (UTC) (Link)

    Big thanks to Felicity!

    I've developed the very bad habit of visiting here only a handful of times a year, and then devouring months of postings and comments at a time to catch up. (Note to self: Must drop by more frequently!)

    But I wanted to say once again, Felicity, that YOU ROCK! Thank you sooooooo much for all your hard work keeping this one-and-only authoritative source of all-Matt, all-the-time news going strong for all these years, and doing it with such class and consistently good taste. :-)

    And I also have to say, I loved this comment from several weeks ago by I.B.:

    "And what about "Good Will Hunting II ("Where There's a Will, There's a Way")? Am I the only one interested in what the future held for those characters?"

    'GWH II (Where There's a Will, There's a Way)' -- HA! Too funny! (And no, you're not alone -- I've wondered many times what came of those boys some years down the road.)

    Speaking of Will, I noticed that a Blu-ray version of Good Will Hunting is supposed to be released in Canada on February 3, but I haven't heard anything about U.S.-specific or other regional versions. (I'd love to replace my DVD version of GWH with the Blu-ray version. That and Ripley and the Bournes, which I know were just released in Blu-ray yesterday here in the States, are all on my Blu-ray wish list.)

    Of course, I'm also very much looking forward to the new films Matt will be releasing toward the end of the year, and it's great being able to learn more about them -- and everything else Matt's involved in -- right here. :-)

    - Jeff in Salt Lake City
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: January 30th, 2009 11:11 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Big thanks to Felicity!

    Hi Jeff - good to hear from you again.

    Haven't seen anything about a Blu-ray version of GWH. I'd love an updated commentary with Matt, Ben and Gus, but that's very unlikely.

    The site's been quite (especially re readers/comments), but things will pick up later in the year with the various releases. Not sure how much media coverage there will be from South Africa re Human Factor filming - any stories in the South Africa media about the film at present are woefully inaccurate.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: February 12th, 2009 09:35 am (UTC) (Link)

    A Way to Help the Front Lines

    Here's an incredible person being proactive of making change in Haiti:

    http://www.helptammyhelphaiti.com

    We need more people like this in society!
    7 comments or Leave a comment