01/18/2008 at 04:00 PM EST
had gotten a lot of honors over career – from an Oscar to the title PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive – but now he is being honored for his humanitarian work.
The actor, who is also an advocate for refugees in Darfur, has been named a United Nations "messenger of peace," it was announced Friday.
The actor is being "recognized for focusing public attention on crucial international political and social issues," according to U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas.
Clooney, 46, joins Michael Douglas and musician Yo-Yo Ma as previous celebrity U.N. honorees. Clooney and friend Don Cheadle were given the Peace Summit Award
by a group of Nobel Laureates Dec. 13 for their work for Darfur.
With Cheadle and Brad Pitt
, Clooney has raised money for refugees through the "Not On Our Watch" charity and helped draw attention to the crisis in Darfur in western Sudan.