Just in time for Oscar season, actors Ben Affleck and Seth Rogen will appear before two different Senate panels next week to testify about the Democratic Republic of Congo and Alzheimer’s disease, respectively.
Perhaps a surprise for those who picture Rogen and Affleck as the Green Hornet and Daredevil, both actors have a history of advocacy and using their celebrity to highlight issues that typically escape the front pages of the American press. In 2012, Rogen started with his wife Hilarity for Charity, an event that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the National Alzheimer’s Association. In 2010, Affleck founded the Eastern Congo Initiative to aid the victims of a country riddled with violence, poverty and disease.
Affleck will appear Feb. 26 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with Russell Feingold, the U.S. special envoy for the Congo; Roger Meece, former U.S. ambassador to Congo; and Dr. Raymond Gilpin, the National Defense University’s academic dean. The hearing will raise awareness for the world’s least developed country in terms of life expectancy, education and standard of living, according to the International Rescue Committee. An advisory firm working for Affleck offered to set up a similar event for the House of Representatives, but the Republicans who control the schedule declined, according to Foreign Policy, which first reported that Affleck would be one of the witnesses.
On the same day, Rogen will testify before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the economic impact and the current state of biomedical research into prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Other panelists will include Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Michael Hurd, director of the RAND Center for the Study of Aging. More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the National Alzheimer’s Association, a number that could triple by 2050.