UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie has released her annual video message for World Refugee Day (June 20).

“Every day, thousands of people run from war, persecution and terror,” she says in the new video. "Even one is too many. One family forced to flee is too many. One child growing up in a camp is too many. One refugee without hope is too many.

“Do one thing – visit UNHCR.org and learn how you can make a difference.”

The UN refugee agency, in its 60th year, will mark World Refugee Day with a rich and varied programme of events in locations worldwide and the launch of a new global awareness campaign.

UNHCR will start rolling out the multimedia “One” campaign this week. Over the next six months it will increase awareness about the forcibly displaced and stateless by telling their powerful personal stories. The campaign will carry the message that “One Refugee Without Hope is too Many.”

The Italian capital of Rome will be the focus of this year’s events on World Refugee Day itself (June 20), with High Commissioner António Guterres due to present UNHCR’s annual statistics report on the number of people of concern to the agency. He will also preside over a special commemorative event that will be attended by Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano and six refugees, including a Polish survivor of the Holocaust in World War II. Rome’s ancient Colosseum will again be bathed in UN blue, one of many monuments around the world to be spotlit to mark the occasion, including the iconic Empire State Building in New York.

Activities and special events will not be restricted to June 20, but will start in the week ahead of the special day. Guterres, for example, will be going to Italy’s Lampedusa Island on June 19 to meet some of the thousands of people – including refugees and asylum-seekers – who have risked their lives to cross the Mediterranean Sea on overcrowded vessels from Libya.

UNHCR staff have been planning for World Refugee Day (WRD) for months and have prepared a wide range of activities, including light shows, film screenings, lectures, panel discussions, food bazaars, fashion shows, cultural performances, concerts and sports contests. There will also be competitions, tree planting, speeches, poetry recitals and photography exhibitions, including a special collaboration with the prestigious Magnum agency – “60 Years, 60 Lives” – to mark UNHCR’s 60th anniversary in a year that also marks the 60th anniversary of the UN Refugee Convention.

The agency’s partners, including governments, donors, non-governmental organizations, Angelina Jolie and our other Goodwill Ambassadors, will be doing their part to help, and refugees in camps and urban centres around the world will participate while enjoying much needed recognition.

Watch Angelina’s new video message here, and find out more about World Refugee Day at UNHCR.org.

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