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Celebrities join the UN Refugee Agency's unique campaign for World Refugee Day

Press releases

Celebrities join the UN Refugee Agency's unique campaign for World Refugee Day

17 June 2013

Stars photographed with the most important thing they would take if they were forced to flee their homes

More than 25 international celebrities including Paula Abdul, actor David Tennant, acclaimed writer Neil Gaiman, Vampire Diaries' star Kat Graham, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, supermodel and former refugee, Alek Wek have joined the UN Refugee Agency's (UNHCR) World Refugee Day '1 family' campaign to expose the devastating impact of war on families.

See their photo series at:

The campaign aims to expose the devastating impact of war on families and mobilise public support and solidarity for those affected, including refugees from the Syria crisis.

"Somewhere, right now, a family is being torn apart by war, children are being separated from their parents, lives and homes are being destroyed. One family torn apart by war is too many" said Kat Graham, star of Vampire Diaries.

When families are forced to flee their homes they may have only a minute to escape. On World Refugee Day, UNHCR is asking the public to step into the shoes of a refugee - if only for a moment - by contemplating what they would take if faced with this life-changing decision.

Anyone can upload a photo of themselves with their chosen object, or tweet about it through the World Refugee Day website The photos of celebrities, the public and refugees alike are posted on a campaign Pinterest board that is both massive - and moving.

Amongst the celebrities supporting the campaign, a number are former refugees themselves - as is the case for best-selling author Khaled Hosseini, who added this caption to his photo, "My family and I left Afghanistan in 1976 and we were never able to go back because of the war. This watch was given to me by my father when I was 13 and it's my most prized possession because it represents the oldest surviving relic of my childhood".

Other celebrities supporting UNHCR this World Refugee Day through filmed messages, field missions and social media activity include country rock superstars Lady Antebellum, acclaimed writer Henning Mankell, writer, presenter, comedian Stephen Fry, Olympic athlete and former refugee from South Sudan, Guor Marial.


- Media interested in hosting the celebrity photo series, a mixture of all the Pinterest images, or Brian Sokol's photos can contact:

Stephen Pattison, Public Relations Officer: [email protected]

Suzy Hopper, Photo Editor: [email protected]

- Question relating to celebrity supporters can contact:

Alison Tilbe, Manager, Global Goodwill Ambassador programme: [email protected]

- For information on the World Refugee Day Campaign and Call to Action please contact:

Leigh Foster, Chief, Strategic Communications: [email protected]

- On Twitter follow the hashtag #1family and UNHCR @refugees

The Pinterest Photo Project:

The Pinterest photo project was inspired by a UNHCR commissioned photo project called The Most Important Thing conceived by acclaimed photographer Brian Sokol . It is part of UNHCR's global campaign to engage the public to think about the heart-wrenching decisions families are forced to make when they flee their homes because of war.

List of Celebrities who have given photos to support the campaign:

Alek Wek, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, former refugee, supermodel

Barbara Hendricks, UNHCR Honorary Lifetime Goodwill Ambassador, classical singer

George Dalaras, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, singer

Khaled Hosseini, UNHCR Honorary Patron, author

Osvaldo Laport, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, actor

Aldemar Torres, Venezuelan musician

Alex Braga, Italian blogger, musician, radio and TV anchorman

Aly Khan Satchu, Kenyan economist

Candice Accola, American actress, star of The Vampire Diaries

Cesar Lopez, Colombian singer/songwriter

Chantal Kreviatzuk, Canadian singer

Daniel Angel Paz Rio, Venezuelan artist

David Tennant, Scottish actor

Diamond White, American singer (former X Factor contestant)

Dimitris Piatas, Greek actor

Erri de Luca, Italian poet/novelist

Gogo Brebou, Greek actress

Ian Somerholder, American actor, star of The Vampire Diaries

Jenna Ushkowitz, American actress, star of The Vampire Diaries

Julian Orrego, Columbian actor and musician

Kat Graham, American actress, star of Vampire Diaries

Kristen Vangsness, American actress

Leo Vanegas, Colombian scriptwriter

Leonardo Ocando, Venezuelan singer

Matt Davis, American actor, star of The Vampire Diaries

Maher Zain, Lebanese/Swedish singer

Maia Von Lekow, Kenyan musician/songwriter

Maurice Kirya, Ugandan musician

Michael Trevino, American actor, star of The Vampire Diaries

Mohamed Abduba Dida, Kenyan politician

Neil Gaiman, British author

Nicole Grimaudo, Italian actress

Niki Kartsona, Director of

Noura Al Nouman, Author Sharjah, UAE

Paula Abdul, American singer

Paola Tamayo, Venezuelan dancer

Rokia Traore, Malian singer

Romola Garai, British Actress

Sebastian Yepes, Colombian singer

Sotiris Danezi, Greek journalist/film maker

Steve 'Urban' Chege, Kenyan musician

Stefan Keyes, Canadian news reporter

Thomasina Miers, British chef/restaurateur