Celebrating World Refugee Day in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (UNHCR)
– As US Secretary of State, Colin Powell is used to dealing with ambassadors
from all over the world. But UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie is the
only one with her own fan club, he joked, as they gathered at Union Station in
Washington D.C. to celebrate World Refugee Day on June 20.
Powell and Jolie were part of a high-profile event to raise public awareness of refugees in the capital city. Other highlights of the day included the opening of a children's poster exhibition, multicultural performances and a UNHCR/photo exhibition.
In his opening speech, Powell read a statement from US President George W. Bush: "As a country that has seen so many refugees contribute so much to our society, this day has special meaning for Americans. I am proud that we are the largest donor to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the world's leader in accepting refugees for resettlement … Today I reaffirm our commitment to protect and assist refugees, promoting their right to seek asylum and provide opportunities for their resettlement as needed."
Supporting this year's theme of refugee women, the Secretary of State said, "To look into the face of a refugee woman is to peer into the very eyes of the exodus. Mirrored in them are memories of fear and flight, of devastation and despair. But when those extraordinary eyes look back at you, they are also the eyes of hope, and surely they are the eyes of a heroine."