Elebrity Interventions Government Class

Topic 3. a?Celebrity Interventionsa?

In introduction: Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930) was a Norwegian zoologist, oceanographer, and Arctic traveler. His name is in many history books today and the Wikipedia has a detailed page about his prominent life. His fame, however, is not associated with more than his bold Arctic explorations. Although his geographic expeditions were making big newspaper headlines around the world more than a century ago, he is also known for his significant humanitarian effort to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of prisoners of war, refugees, and famine victims. Nansenas role was different from today celebritiesa engagements. Before his work on international relief efforts on behalf of the League of Nations, Nansen was already an influential diplomat and politician who had left his academic career behind him. Most of todayas famous individuals, singers, actresses, or movie directors involved in humanitarian work remain very much active in their profession.
Celebrity humanitarian activism is the term used to describe the involvement of high-profiled, famous individualsaZ?primarily from the field of arts, science, or entertainmentaZ?in humanitarian activities. Celebrity activism is somewhat paradoxical: There are popular entertainers involved in the most difficult and most serious world problems.
High-profiled individuals, not associated with government posts, have always been involved in compassionate activities on the international arena, especially during wartime. During World War I, to illustrate: German, Austrian, British, and Russian members of royal families, women in particular, visited field hospitals to take care of the wounded; raised funds to buy clothes, food, and medication for the soldiers; and made inquiries about humane treatment of captured prisoners. Most of their activities, however, were aimed to help soldiers of their own counties.
Today celebritiesa activism is somewhat different from the past examples for two reasons. First, its focus and scope have transformed from local or national efforts to primarily international and global causes. Global poverty, international trafficking of women and children, the global ban of land mines, the global AIDS problemsaZ?these and many other problems of worldwide significance are common causes for which celebritiesa work today. The second distinct feature of contemporary celebrity humanitarian activism is its obvious public appeal and international exposure. When Angelina Jolie traveled to Cambodia, or Bono met with the British prime minister, major television networks featured these events relentlessly. When Australian singer, Natalie Imbruglia, went to Nigeria to campaign for better treatment of fistula, a childbirth related illness, she was constantly surrounded by a a?moba? of reporters, photographers, and filmmakers from many countries. Thousands of blogs multiply the a?breaking newsa? about celebrity activism such as donations. Critics say that actresses, artists, and singers need attention and anonymous donations from them are rarea¦

Assignment: Write your opinion essay on celebrity activism. These are three questions that I would like you to be focusing on:
Does celebrity activism, from your point of view, make a difference in the global efforts to fight illness, poverty, violence, or injustice? If yes, why?
Does celebrity activism appear to you as a convenient self-promotion designed to make a celebrity more visible and a?virtuousa? in the public eye? If yes, why?
Would you agree with both views?
Select several cases of a?celebrity activisma? and explain your personal position on this issue. I am interested in your individual view and not in something you google in seconds.