60th Anniversary: Angelina Jolie marks milestone with tribute to the displaced and UNHCR staff

News Stories, 17 December 2010

© UNHCR/Alonso Serrano
Goodwill Ambassadors Angelina Jolie and Jesús Vázquez meet and swap experiences in UNHCR's Madrid office.

MADRID, Spain, December 17 (UNHCR) UNHCR Goodwill Ambassadors Angelina Jolie and Jesús Vázquez met in Spain this week and paid tribute to the staff of the refugee agency on its 60th birthday and to the people they help.

"In the week of UNHCR's anniversary, I would like to highlight the strength and courage of the world's refugees and [other] forcibly displaced people who are, for all of us, an example of generosity and dignity," Jolie said during a visit Thursday to UNHCR's Madrid office. "My thoughts go also to the dedicated UNHCR staff, who for many years have risked their lives to protect the lives of refugees."

Award-winning actress Jolie was in Madrid to promote her latest film, "The Tourist," and took the opportunity to meet UNHCR staff and discuss Spain's asylum system, mixed migration flows into the country, resettlement and other important issues. She also heard about plans for the anniversary year.

Jolie met Vázquez, a popular TV presenter in Spain, and shared with him some of her experiences as a goodwill ambassador over the past decade. Since becoming a goodwill ambassador in 2006, Vázquez has been actively supporting awareness and fund-raising activities in Spain on behalf of refugees, including a charity art auction on Wednesday in Madrid.

UNHCR turned 60 on Tuesday. It was founded on December 14, 1950 to help Europeans displaced during World War II and was only expected to be in existence for three years. Today, it works around the world, helps millions of people and has an open-ended mandate.