Rupert Everett may have been quiet on the movie front lately, but he continues to be an outspoken activist on AIDS issues, as evidenced by his appearance this week at the Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC) conference held at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., reports PEOPLE.
SGAC, founded two years ago by Harvard students Ben Wikler and Adam Taylor, is the country’s largest student AIDS advocacy group, involving some 250 schools across the U.S. On Monday, its members took their fight to Capitol Hill, where they lobbied Congress to increase AIDS funding.
“These students are amazing, because they’re not like people of my generation who get twisted by personal anger,” “The Importance of Being Earnest” star, 43, tells PEOPLE.
“You notice a lot of people my age when they’re talking about politics, there’s a lot of personal anger, which is very dangerous. These kids don’t have that kind of anger.”
What they do have, said the actor, is “outrage — young, innocent, pure energy. And they are more interesting than Britney and Justin, I’m sorry.”
Everett says the trip he took three years ago to visit the Kibera slum, in Nairobi, Kenya, really woke him up to the AIDS problem. “I’m not a major activist … I was dragged into the AIDS arena kicking and screaming.”
Yet he was devastated by what he saw in Kenya, and since that first visit has gone back twice and is now spreading the word among his celebrity friends to raise money to expand the Kibera Community Center.
He also is raising money for another African student group, Youth Media Zambia, whom he also met in Barcelona at the international AIDS conference.
Says Everett: “They started a magazine and a TV show, and I’m trying to find money for them to make the rest of their TV series.”