Angelina Jolie Visits Syrian Refugees in Lebanon: "They Are So Generous and Kind"

Celebrity News Sep. 12, 2012 AT 9:45AM
US actress and UNHCR special envoy Angelina Jolie and UN High Comission for Refugees staff visit the Zaatari refugee camp near the Jordanian border with Syria, on September 11, 2012.       US actress and UNHCR special envoy Angelina Jolie and UN High Comission for Refugees staff visit the Zaatari refugee camp near the Jordanian border with Syria, on September 11, 2012. Credit: KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/GettyImages

Angelina Jolie's humanitarian work is never done.

After meeting with nearly 200 new Syrian refugees near Mafraq, Jordan, overnight September 11, the 37-year-old actress and UNHCR special envoy spoke on their behalf during a press conference later that morning.

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"I'm grateful to Jordan and all the border countries for keeping their borders open, for saving these people's lives," Jolie told reporters gathered under a Bedouin tent. "They are dying in Syria. If they were unable to escape with their families, many of the people here, many of people I met today would in fact be dead. It's an extraordinary thing that they are doing."

The Za'atri refugee camp hosts about 28,000 Syrians displaced by the 18-month conflict. "It's impossible to imagine any mother standing by and not stepping up and doing something to prevent this," said Jolie, who has six children with her fiance, actor Brad Pitt, 48. "We encourage the international community to support the people here until one day they go back home."

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On September 12, the Academy Award winner traveled to Beirut, Lebanon to meet with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati; she was joined by UN high commissioner for refugees Antonio Guterres. "I was very moved today to meet again with the Syrian families and to meet them here -- not in a camp but in homes where they are welcomed and protected," the Girl, Interrupted star said after the meeting during a press conference at the Grand Serail.

US actress and UNHCR special envoy Angelina Jolie, accompanied by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres (not shown), meet Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati in Beirut on September 12, 2012.
US actress and UNHCR special envoy Angelina Jolie, accompanied by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres (not shown), meet Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati in Beirut on September 12, 2012.
Credit: JOSEPH EID/AFP/GettyImages

Jolie said she admires the displaced peoples' hopeful spirit. "The Lebanese people themselves are dealing with their own problems," she explained. "It is all the more meaningful that they are so generous and so kind, and I hope the world acknowledges that."

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Earlier this year, Jolie was promoted to the diplomat-level position of UNHCR special envoy after serving more than 10 years as a goodwill ambassador.

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