Since 2007, Affleck has made nine trips to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with a focus on the eastern provinces. He has focused on understanding the causes and consequences of conflict on the continent, and learning about African solutions to the problems affecting the DRC. In May 2008, a film crew from ABC’s Nightline joined Ben on a trip to the DRC, meeting with a diverse set of individuals – including President Joseph Kabila; former armed group leader Laurent Nkunda; refugees and internally displaced people; former child soldiers; and leaders from local and international NGOs, among others – to gather a range of viewpoints on the issues in the region. Nightline produced a full episode about the trip narrated by Ben; it aired in June 2008.
In late 2008, he directed a short film and public service announcement, “Gimme Shelter,” about the humanitarian crisis in the DRC. The film was utilized as part of the UNHCR's international campaign to aid those displaced by violence.
Affleck has testified before Congress three times to advocate for U.S. and international engagement in Congo, most recently before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in February 2014. In addition to extensive travel throughout the DRC, Ben’s learning and advocacy trips have taken him to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Republic of Congo, Sudan and Zanzibar. He is a longtime political activist and strong supporter of many charitable organizations, such as Feeding America, A-T Children's Project, and the Jimmy Fund.
Affleck took part in the “Stay Close” campaign for Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
He has also dedicated much of his time and energy to urging people to vote.
In 2008 he visited the Congo to witness the humanitarian crisis there: “I think the more painful something is, the more you want to distance yourself from it,” he told ABC News. “I think the hard part is actually to let some of that go and to realize that when you see some of these images of people suffering in some way or another, to kind of remember that these are people who are in fact just in different circumstance than you are, but that are kind of dealing with [those circumstances] in a pretty brave and enduring way.”
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