The 2012 Global Trends report released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) indicated that 15.2 million people ended 2011 as refugees, having fled their countries during humanitarian crises. Another 26.4 million people had been internally displaced, and 895,000 were in the process of seeking asylum.
Everyone knows that people being forced to flee their homes in times of war and civil unrest is nothing new. But what you might not know is that some refugees have gone on to become household names around the world. These celebrities and their families sought out a better life, and are now able to use their celebrity status to bring attention to the issues affecting their native countries and governments.
Here are 5 celebrities you probably did not know are/were refugees:
1. Albert Einstein
The man who discovered the theory of relativity fled his home in Germany in 1933 after Hitler’s rise to power.
2. Wyclef Jean
The solo artist and member of the musical group The Fugees fled Haiti with his family at the age of 9. He has since used his celebrity to help raise awareness and millions of dollars in aid for Haiti.
3. Andy Garcia
The Academy Award winning actor fled Cuba with his family when he was only five, following the Bay of Pigs invasion. Garcia regularly advocates for Cuban political prisoners and for democratic change in Cuba.
4. Luol Deng
The Chicago Bulls forward fled his home in Sudan during the Sudanese Civil War.
5. Gloria Estefan
The pop icon and her family fled their home during the Cuban Revolution.
These are just a few of the famous faces bringing attention to the plight of displaced refugees. Hopefully their stories can give hope to the millions of people suffering and fleeing from situations just like theirs, and at the same time encourage others to empathize and advocate for change.
– Dana Johnson