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richard-gereDharamshala, India: - Richard Gere, Hollywood star and activist, a tireless promoter of human rights in Tibet has been announced as the next recipient of the George Eastman House Award for his work in film and his dedication to humanitarian causes.

Richard Gere, 62, a long time friend of Tibet and follower of the spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, has expressed his deep concern over the ongoing crackdowns, torture and killing in Tibet, during a visit to South Korea in June this year to promote an exhibition of photos he took in the Himalayan territory. Gere said some of the images in the exhibition illustrated what he called the political oppression faced by his 'Tibetan brothers and sisters'.

According to the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film's announcement, Gere is the 67th recipient of the award, which has previously been given to legendary actors, like James Stewart, Gary Cooper and Joan Crawford, and directors, like Cecil B. DeMille and Frank Capra. Modern actors and directors to receive the award include Martin Scorsese, Isabella Rosselini and Meryl Streep. Charles Chaplin also won the award.

Gere, has appeared over 40 films, according to media reports. His performances include Days of Heaven, An Officer and a Gentleman, Pretty Woman and Chicago. The star of such films as "An Officer and a Gentleman" and "Pretty Woman" is set to be honored Feb. 16 during a ceremony at Rochester's George Eastman House. In 2012, Gere will appear in Arbitrage, Henry & Me and Movie 43.

"He was nominated for an Emmy for "And the Band Played On" (1993) and a Screen Actors Guild Award for the musical "Chicago" (2002)," according to Syracuse.com

In 1991, Gere started the Gere Foundation, which advocates for the preservation of Tibet and its people. He has also long been prominent in the fight against HIV-AIDS.

WHAM reported that Gere is also an avid photographer, with his photograph exhibit, Pilgrim, traveling to 11 countries around the world.

Past recipients of the George Eastman Award include Lauren Bacall, Martin Scorsese and Meryl Streep. The George Eastman House is located in Rochester, NY. They will be handing Gere the award on Feb. 16. Tickets for the program go on sale on Jan. 17.

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com