Angelina Jolie Honored at UN Refugee Agency Awards

2:42 PM PST 10/03/2011 by THR Staff

The actress, who has spent the last decade as a goodwill ambassador for the organization, addressed a Yemeni aid group during the Monday, Oct. 3 event.

Angelina Jolie both gave and received honors at the UN Refugee Agency Awards on Monday, Oct. 3 in Geneva. The actress, who has served as a goodwill ambassador for the organization over the last decade, fought back tears as she addressed Yemen’s Society for Humanitarian Solidarity.

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The Yemini aid group took home the top annual award from the agency for their work with thousands of Somali refugees and migrants, the AP reports.

“The desperation fueled by a vicious combination of drought, famine and conflict has driven tens of thousands of people from the Horn of Africa,” Jolie said while addressing the group.

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“And we must not forget what is happening in this part of the world,” she continued. “We must try to imagine how desperate these people must be, when their only alternative is to risk death at sea and put their lives in the hands of ruthless smugglers.”

The actress also said that she looks forward to continuing to represent the UNHCR for an additional 10 years.

“Most of all I’m so grateful – I don’t want to cry – to the refugee families that I have the honor and privilege to spend the last years with,” she said. “From them I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned to be a better person, a better mother. They’ve inspired me by showing me the unbreakable strength of the human spirit.”

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