Pope gives awards to Richard Gere, George Clooney and Salma Hayek

Mon May 30, 2016 3:02am EDT
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ROME (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Sunday awarded medals to American actors Richard Gere and George Clooney and actress Salma Hayek at an event held at the Vatican to promote the work of a foundation inspired by the pontiff, Scholas Occurrentes.

Clooney attended the event with his wife Amal, a lawyer.

The foundation, whose name means "schools that meet" in Spanish, links technology with the arts, aiming at social integration and a cultural of peace.

Francis had created a similar organization when he was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, but Scholas has now become an international foundation working out of the Vatican.

"Important values can be transmitted by celebrities," said one of the organizers, Lorena Bianchetti, adding that the actors had agreed to be ambassadors for one of the foundation's arts projects.

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Andrew Bolton)

Pope Francis meets U.S. actor George Clooney (C) and his wife Amal (L) during a meeting of the Scholas Occurrentes at the Vatican, May 29, 2016. Osservatore Romano/ Handout via REUTERS