Actress Priyanka Chopra’s high profile visit to Jordan is the latest such trip by a celebrity in support of Syrian refugees across Jordan and Lebanon. Gulf News tabloid! takes a look at the most recent a-listers who have stepped up for the cause:
A year ago, Angelina Jolie made her fourth visit to Jordan in a bid to shed light on the plight of Syrian refugees. The actress and humanitarian, who is a UN Special Envoy for Refugees, has been a passionate advocate in urging governments and leaders around the globe to lend a hand in ending the conflict.
During her last visit, the mother of six addressed reporters saying: “Over half of all the refugees in Jordan are under 18. My own children are of that age and like any other parent, it is impossible for me to imagine what it would be like for my own children in this situation and it breaks my heart.”
The Oscar-winning actress was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador with the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, last year upon her return from a mission in Jordan and Lebanon where she witnessed the ongoing humanitarian operation for people displaced by the conflict in Syria.
Blanchett interacted with Syrian refugee families in Jordan’s Zaatari camp, stating in a video interview: “There has never been a more crucial time to stand with refugees and show solidarity. We are living through an unprecedented crisis, and there must be shared responsibility worldwide.”
In 2015, she also travelled to Lebanon to meet Syrian refugees as part of her support for UNHCR’s #IBelong Campaign.
Ricky Martin, a Unicef goodwill ambassador, has been a staunch advocate of Syrian refugees, having spent three days at the Lebanese-Syrian border last year.
The 45-year-old Puerto Rican singer put up an emotional post on his Instagram account at the time, stating: “The word ‘refugee’ must not lose its meaning. Syrian refugees around the world need protection. This amazing organisation [Unicef] is doing an incredible job providing education to more than 150,000 Syrian refugee children. Still, there are hundreds of thousands of kids that have not been able to get this very important/basic right.”
Describing the stark reality of life as a refugee in Jordan’s Azraq Camp, actor-humanitarian Ben Stiller penned a special first-person account for Time magazine, writing: “We become anaesthetised to the constant news of suffering children in Aleppo and horrific violence and destruction in the region.”
Stiller has been supporting UNHCR since early 2016, having travelled to Jordan last year to spend time with Syrian refugees living in camps. The actor also teamed up with the organisation’s #WithRefugees campaign, encouraging the public to sign a petition calling on world leaders to take shared responsibility of the global refugee crisis.
Stiller also addressed the UN General Assembly Hall at the handing in of the petition to the UN Secretary General ahead of the UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants in September 2016.
George and Amal Clooney
Unbeknownst to the world, George and Amal Clooney have quietly taken in a refugee from Iraq who is currently living at their home in Kentucky; the former revealed the news in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
This is not the first time the Clooneys have stepped up for the cause of refugees. The Clooney Foundation for Justice — founded by the celebrity power couple — announced a $2.25 million (Dh8.2 million) partnership with Unicef to help seven public schools in Lebanon serve 3,000 Syrian refugees who are not in school.
“Thousands of young Syrian refugees are at risk — the risk of never being a productive part of society. Formal education can help change that… We don’t want to lose an entire generation because they had the bad luck of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time,” the couple said in a statement.