Angelina Jolie is putting aside her own personal struggles and focusing her efforts on commemorating World Refugee Day on June 20. UNHCR Special Envoy Jolie started her trip by visiting with Syrian refugees at the Jordan border on Tuesday, June 18.
The 38-year-old actress was photographed crouched down listening to stories from refugees and taking notes. On the UNHCR's website, Jolie said the purpose of her visit is "to show support for Syria's refugees, to call on the world to address their plight, and to better understand needs in Jordan and other countries in the region most directly affected by this devastating conflict."
In the past six months alone, the war in Syria as caused 1.6 million people to flee. "The worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century is unfolding in the Middle East today," Jolie said. "The international response to this crisis falls short of the vast scale of this human tragedy. Much more humanitarian aid is needed, and above all, a political settlement to this conflict must be found."
Jolie traveled solo on the trip, while fiance Brad Pitt is busy promoting his new film, World War Z. At the June 17 New York City premiere, he explained to reporters of Jolie's absence, "She has to go across the world for Refugee Day."
Pitt, 49, also defended his fiancee on the red carpet against Melissa Etheridge's recent comments about Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy. Etheridge, a breast cancer survivor, recently told The Washington Blade that Jolie made "the most fearful choice you can make when confronting anything with cancer."
"Melissa's an old friend of mine," Pitt told Us Weekly. "I'm sure we'll talk on the phone. I don't know what it is."
"I think that it's an individual decision and I found it very empowering instead of scary," he added. "We experienced the exact opposite."