Not that being People's Sexiest Man Alive isn't important, but these days George Clooney's star power and campaigning skills are being put to better use elsewhere.
The Syriana Oscar winner landed in Egypt Tuesday, his second stop on a trip to press foreign governments with ties to Sudan to help stop the ongoing violence in Darfur, a cause that has been particularly close to the actor's heart since he visited the region in April.
More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced by the ethnic conflict raging since 2003 between Arab militias and ethnic African rebels in western Sudan. Government forces have also been accused of aiding what many people familiar with the conflict are calling the first genocide of the 21st century.
Accompanied by a small delegation of activists, including Ocean's Eleven and Twelve costar Don Cheadle, Clooney organized his latest overseas trip to make a personal plea to Egyptian and Chinese leaders to intervene in the conflict. While Egypt has tried to negotiate with the government in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, China—one of Sudan's biggest oil customers—has been against imposing sanctions on the northeast African nation.
On the road with Clooney and Cheadle are Kenyan Olympian and United Nations Ambassador of Sport Tegla Loroupe, champion U.S. speed skater Joey Cheek and human rights lawyer David Pressman.
The high-profile do-gooders arrived in China on Friday and met with officials in Beijing before heading to Cairo, according to Clooney's rep, Stan Rosenfield.
Clooney is scheduled to meet with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abdul-Gheit on Wednesday and head back to the United States the next day.
The 45-year-old heartthrob, who also addressed the U.N. Security Council in September to promote his cause, recently told Newsweek that while he doesn't consider himself much of a sex symbol, he figures he may as well use all the attention that gets heaped on him for a good cause.
"If you're going to be famous and have cameras follow you around, you might as well go where the cameras will do some good," Clooney said.
Then, when asked whether he wakes up sometimes and thinks, "I'm George Clooney, I can get any chick I want," the low-maintenance guy who cuts his own hair and washes his face with a bar of soap said, "Um, ah, no, because I also wake up and my knees hurt and I think, 'I'm 45.' "
Other celebrities who have put in face time in Africa over the past few years include Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Madonna, Drew Barrymore, Clay Aiken, Alyssa Milano, Lucy Liu, Alicia Keys, Matt Damon, Mia Farrow, Laurence Fishburne, Ashley Judd, Jessica Simpson, Quincy Jones and Oprah Winfrey.