In January 2010, shortly after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, Sean Penn established the J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO). Initially an emergency relief organization, it now continues to help vulnerable communities rebuild their lives in healthier and safer neighborhoods through access to quality education, health services, improved housing and infrastructure, and livelihoods.

For his efforts, Penn was knighted by President Rene Preval and later appointed Ambassador at Large for Haiti by President Michel Martelly at a ceremony in Port-Au-Prince in 2012. Penn was also presented with the 2012 Peace Summit Award at the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, a tribute for extraordinary solidarity by the Haitian Parliament in a combined meeting of the National Assembly and the International Humanitarian Service Award from the American Red Cross. In December 2012, he was also named Special Advisor to Haiti’s Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.

Penn has also been honored with the following: The Commander’s Award for Service (US Army 82nd Airborne Division); 82ndAirborne Award for Meritorious Service; the Operation Unified Response JTF Haiti Certificate from Lieutenant General, US Army Commander P.K. Keen; Commendation of Excellence United States Southern Command; the 2011 Stanley Kramer Award from the Producers Guild of America; and the Children’s and Families Global Development Fund Humanitarian Award, presented by the Ambassador of the Republic of Haiti.

At the COP21 Climate Conference in December 2015, Penn partnered with a global coalition including Ségolène Royal, French Ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, to launch “Haiti Takes Root,” an initiative which is committed to reforesting Haiti over the next 10 years.

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