Haiti honors Maria Bello for her women's advocacy

Associated Press
Haiti's President Michel Martelly is flanked by Haiti's new goodwill ambassadors, actress Maria Bello, left, and former government official Danielle Saint Lot at a ceremony in their honor at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Oct. 23,  2012. Saint Lot is a longtime women’s activist and Bello is the co-founder of women’s grassroots group We Advance. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti's President Michel Martelly honored Maria Bello on Tuesday for her advocacy work on behalf of the Caribbean country's women.

The star of "Coyote Ugly" and "A History of Violence" was named goodwill ambassador for women at a special ceremony on the grounds of the National Palace. Bello spoke about how a group of women in a displacement camp organized themselves after the 2010 earthquake.

"I'm very fortunate to be in the position where I can hear your voices and tell the world what you have to say," Bello told an audience at the Palace as Martelly stood at her side.

Bello, co-founder of women's grassroots group We Advance, will join the ranks of other Hollywood celebrities in Haiti who have received similar recognition for their charity work after the quake. They include actor Sean Penn, hip-hop star Wyclef Jean and Czech supermodel Petra Nemcova.

The ceremony also recognized the work of Danielle Saint Lot. The former government official is a longtime women's activist and was named an ambassador to find funding for women's causes.

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