Celebvocate: Sarah Wayne Callies on the Syrian refugee crisis

June 20, 2013

A continuing series on the stars who bring their causes to Washington. Thursday’s celebvocate: Sarah Wayne Callies

Occasion: World Refugee Day commemoration

Venue: The State Department’s ornate Benjamin Franklin room


Sarah Wayne Callies at the State Department. (Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty Images)

Bona fides: Longtime volunteer with the International Rescue Committee;  granddaughter of a refugee from pre-WWII Eastern Europe; actress now starring in “The Guardsman” at the Kennedy Center, best known as a zombie-apocalypse refugee on “The Walking Dead.”

Backup: John Kerry, Assistant Secretary of State Anne C. Richard, Liberian refugee Wilmot Collins, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.

What she wants: To call attention to the Syrian refugee crisis and honor the aid workers in the field.

How she looked: Elegant but demure in a loose white top, simple black skirt. Maybe it was the setting but Callies looked like she could pass for a sister of Angelina Jolie (who spoke Thursday at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan).

How she sounded: Solemn, modest, carefully walking that fine line between conveying the tragedy she saw in visits to refugee camps in Jordan and Iraq and emphasizing the work done by others.

Soundbite: After a recent trip to refugee camps, “I was utterly at a loss. . . for what to do with what I had just encountered, the pain and suffering I had just witnessed”; it made her appreciate what “aid workers do every day with a new sense of gratitude.”

Read more about recent celebvocates and even more about celebvocates from past years.

More Reliable Source: Alice Munro; James Gandolfini; Rove and Brazile; Paula Deen; Michael Collins; Strauss-Kahn house; Josh Duggar; Newt Gingrich

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Amy Argetsinger · June 20, 2013