Ben Affleck says a feeling of emptiness in Hollywood led him to create the Eastern Congo Initiative, a grant-making and advocacy organization, in 2009.
While speaking at a panel discussion on Wednesday for the Clinton Global Initiative, the “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” actor, who was seated alongside Chouchou Namegtabe, a founding member of the South Kivu Women’s Media Association, revealed that after years in the spotlight, he felt an overwhelming sense to do good.
Affleck explained, “I was at a point in my life where I was feeling, even by Hollywood standards, sort of especially vacuous and meaningless – like I was doing nothing with the good fortune that I had, and doing nothing with what I had to put back.”
The 44-year-old actor revealed that it wasn’t until he came across “a passage in a book” that he became aware of the many casualties from the conflict in Darfur and the war in the Congo. “I consider myself at least moderately well informed and I had no idea that this kind of crisis was unfolding without the world watching it and the human cost that we’ve seen,” he said.
“I wanted to approach this work from a really humble place,” Affleck continued, speaking about the creation of his Eastern Congo Initiative. “I didn’t want to be the celebrity who says, ‘Why in the world would a celebrity be an expert on anything, really other than being a celebrity?'”