Angelina Jolie Visits Syrian Refugees: ‘We Must Not Let Fear Stand in the Way of an Effective Response’

Angelina Jolie Pitt visited Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon on Tuesday as a special envoy for the United Nations. While there, the actress conducted a touching  press conference in which she thanked the people of Lebanon for helping save the lives of over one million Syrians.

“You are setting an example to the world of generosity, humanity, resilience and solidarity,” she said. “On behalf of UNHCR, and on my own behalf, shukran, thank you.”

The 40-year-old actress also spoke about many Syrians’ dream of one day returning to their country without fear.

“Every Syrian refugee I have spoken to on this visit, without exception, talked of their desire to return home when the war is over and it is safe for them to do so – not with resignation, but with the light in their eyes of people dreaming of being reunited with the country that they love.”

The mother of six asked that the nations of the world step forward and consider what they can do to help alleviate this refugee crisis as much as possible.

“My plea today is that we need governments around the world to show leadership: to analyze the situation and understand exactly what their country can do, how many refugees they can assist and how, in which particular communities and to what timeframe; to explain this to their citizens and address fears – based not on emotion but on a measured assessment of what can and must be done to share the responsibility and get on top of this situation.”

While on her trip, Angelina also reconnected with a girl named Hala, whom she first met in 2014. The actress dined with the young girl and her family. According to a People magazine source, they sat on the ground together and colored while Hala told Jolie Pitt of her dream to return to Syria one day so she could place flowers on her mother’s grave.

Head over to People to read Angelina’s full address in Lebanon.