Pope Francis gives awards to actors Richard Gere, George Clooney and Salma Hayek

The Vatican's Scholas Occurrentes award goes to Richard Gere, George Clooney and actress Salma Hayek for their commitment to promoting social change and peace.
French luxury and retail group PPR Chairman and CEO Francois-Henri Pinault (left) his daughter Valentina, his wife actress Salma Hayek Pinault, Amal Clooney and her husband actor George Clooney attend an audience of Pope Francis at the Sixth World Co
French luxury and retail group PPR Chairman and CEO Francois-Henri Pinault (left) his daughter Valentina, his wife actress Salma Hayek Pinault, Amal Clooney and her husband actor George Clooney attend an audience of Pope Francis at the Sixth World Congress of Pontifical Foundation Scholas.PHOTO: AFP

ROME (REUTERS) - Pope Francis on Sunday awarded medals to American actors Richard Gere and George Clooney and actress Salma Hayek at an event held at the Vatican to promote the work of a foundation inspired by the pontiff, Scholas Occurrentes.

Clooney attended the event with his wife Amal, a lawyer.

The foundation, whose name means "schools that meet" in Spanish, links technology with the arts, aiming at social integration and a cultural of peace.

Francis had created a similar organisation when he was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, but Scholas has now become an international foundation working out of the Vatican.

"Important values can be transmitted by celebrities," said one of the organisers, Lorena Bianchetti, adding that the actors had agreed to be ambassadors for one of the foundation's arts projects.