angelina jolie world refugee day
by Ali Berman
Categories: Causes, People
Tags: , , .
Photo: UN Refugee Agency

If you had to flee your home, friends, family and country, what would you take with you? That’s the question about 25 celebrities are answering to raise awareness for June 20th, World Refugee Day.

Stars like David Tennant, Ian Somerhalder, Neil Gaiman and Paula Abdul all shared what (or who) they would take with them if forced to leave their home.

Somerhalder and Abdul both agree that their canine and feline friends would be their choice. The Vampire Diaries star writes, “If I was a refugee and I could only take one thing I would take my cats and I would wrap them very tightly and I would stick a lighter and a cell phone in between them so that I could find things, call people and make fire so that I could eat.”

Abdul says, “My dogs will always be beloved members of my family. Patient teachers, spirit-lifters, enthusiastic ego boosters, gentle ego-BUSTERS, well-timed comedians, intent listeners, fearless protectors, & trustworthy best friends. If there’s an ‘owner’ or a ‘master’ in this relationship it’s NOT me! I could never knowingly leave them in danger. Never.”

Tennant and Gaiman both agree that a photograph of family would be at the top of their list. Gaiman writes, “If I had to suddenly flee I would take a photo of my children. They are the most important thing I’ve brought to the world, there is nothing more important than my children. They won.”

According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the campaign hopes to show the public how devastating war can be on families. In some instances people might only have one minute to escape from danger. You can see images of what each star would take on the campaign’s pinterest board.

In addition to this photo series, UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie actually traveled to meet with Syrian refugees in Jordan to raise awareness for 2013 World Refugee Day. In hopes that others would join in and show support for refugees, 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.”

Visit UNHCR to learn how you can help.

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is the author of Choosing a Good Life: Lessons from People Who Have Found Their Place in the World (Hazelden) and Misdirected (Seven Stories Press). She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Her published work can be found on her website at In early 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

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