Norway had quite a dream team on Saturday: Oprah Winfrey and Tom Cruise as hosts of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize Concert, which honored Kenyan Wangari Maathai, the first environmentalist and first African woman to be awarded the coveted peace prize
“I’m here because, first of all, when the Nobel Committee calls, you try to answer with a yes,” Winfrey, 50, said at a press conference before the Oslo event. “I like to go wherever Tom Cruise might be. You have the Nobel Committee and Tom Cruise – who’s gonna say no to that?”
The concert was broadcast live in more than 100 countries (cable network E! will air it Dec. 23) and featured such artists as Cyndi Lauper, Patti Labelle, Diana Krall, Andrea Bocelli and British teen soul singer Joss Stone.
Cruise, 42, credited his religion, Scientology, as bringing him to the concert, saying: “One of the things that we believe in is peace, freedom. … I’m just proud to be here, and very proud to be a Scientologist here and to be part of this.”
The Green Belt Movement, founded by the 64-year-old Maathai, has sought to empower women, improve the environment and fight corruption in Africa for almost 30 years.
“What a momentous occasion this is for not just African women, but particularly for African girls,” Winfrey said. “In Maathai, African girls have a role model they can look at and say, ‘I want to be like her.'”