Natalie Portman campaigns on campus for poverty-busting micro-loans

A line of several hundred UC Berkeley students snaked around central campus Monday evening (Oct. 1) to hear actress Natalie Portman talk about the power of micro-lending to alleviate global poverty. Those who couldn’t squeeze into Sibley Auditorium, where the presentation was held, watched the Golden Globe Award-winner on a giant screen in the lobby.

Portman, 26, has served as Ambassador of Hope for the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA) since graduating from Harvard University in 2003. Her campus appearance was hosted by UC Berkeley’s Institute of International Studies, whose director, political science professor Steven Weber, moderated the event.

Portman talked about her international travels for FINCA and the women she has seen empowered through small business micro-loans. After her presentation, she took questions from audience members and was impressed with their gravitas.

"I was really scared that there would be a Star Wars fan and no one would be interested in my cause," she told the crowd. "I admire you all for your passion and interest."-Berkeley, University of California