New York, NY, April 24, 2018 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) celebrates award-winning actor and singer Mandy Patinkin’s continued efforts to advocate for the welcoming of refugees around the world and is proud to announce him as an IRC Ambassador, the IRC said today. Patinkin joins Lena Headey, George and Amal Clooney, John Legend, and Rashida Jones in giving a voice to the voiceless and continuing to speak up for those fleeing conflict and war.
Fresh from wrapping up filming of the latest season of Showtime’s Homeland, actor and activist Mandy Patinkin traveled on his third trip with the IRC to Uganda to see what happens when refugees are given welcome. Along with his wife Kathryn and son Isaac, Patinkin met resilient, resourceful people who are restarting their lives in a country that has made a choice to build bridges, not walls.
Patinkin and his family spent time with Lilian [pictured below] who fled South Sudan in 2016 and now lives in Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement where she works as a volunteer at the IRC’s women’s center. Lilian told Patinkin, “It was hard for me to travel from South Sudan to Uganda. At night, we would hear gunshots. But, I kept walking, because I want my children to live a better life.”
At an IRC-run health clinic in Bidi Bidi, Patinkin met new mothers and saw how a lack of funding for the humanitarian response means the health clinic is still operating under temporary tents and shelter.
Since violence broke out in South Sudan in July 2016, Uganda has received more than one million South Sudanese refugees, and provides refugees with sanctuary, land to build their new homes on, education for their children, and the right to move freely and start businesses. At the same time, the U.S. is on track to resettle just 23,000 refugees this fiscal year, the lowest number since the modern resettlement program began in 1980.
Mandy Patinkin, actor, IRC voice said: “Meeting with refugees from all around the world has made one thing very clear to me: all they want is a better tomorrow for their loved ones, their family, their children. They want education. They want economic opportunity, and they want good healthcare. Isn’t that what we all want? This is why I am so proud of my partnership with the International Rescue Committee — an organization tirelessly working to support the world’s most vulnerable and give them a chance to survive and thrive despite the worst of circumstances.
When people are fleeing any kind of violence, it is our moral and ethical responsibility as human beings to create a community of welcome and help them rebuild their sense of belonging. Uganda had two options: try to keep refugees out because of the burden they may represent, or to embrace refugees as brothers and sisters. They chose the latter. The United States and the United Kingdom must learn from Uganda’s example.”
David Miliband, president & CEO, International Rescue Committee:
“I applaud the deep commitment that Mandy has shown to refugees. Mandy’s passion and humanitarian heart continues to inspire me and others with his tireless commitment and dedication. Both Mandy and the International Rescue Committee strive for a world where people live freely and with each other, honoring diversity and difference. It’s an honor to have him by our side as he helps gives a voice to the voiceless.”
**Photos and b-roll available for media use, click here.
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 28 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.