meet the leaders
Actor Ben Stiller headed to Ukraine for World Refugee Day on Monday, where he met with his hero — and fellow actor — Volodymyr Zelensky.
The Meet the Parents star is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Refugee Agency, and he visited Ukraine amid Russia's invasion to meet people affected by the war. While in the country, Stiller also met with Zelensky, the country's president who was previously an actor and comedian.
"You're my hero," Stiller told Zelensky. "You're amazing. You quit a great acting career for this." Zelensky jokingly responded, "Not so great as you."
Stiller praised the "inspiring" way Zelensky has rallied his country in the wake of Russia's invasion, and video from their meeting showed the actor reflecting on the impact visiting Ukraine has had on him.
"The level of destruction ... you see it on TV, you see it on social media, and it's something else to actually see it and feel it," Stiller said.
Stiller also met with Bridget A. Brink, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who praised him for bringing "much-needed attention to humanitarian needs during the largest and fastest humanitarian crisis in recent memory." He was the latest Hollywood star and activist to visit the country after Sean Penn, who was in Ukraine this year filming a documentary. Angelina Jolie also visited and met with refugees.
In a video shared by the United Nations, Stiller said, "Seeking safety is a right, and it needs to be upheld for every person."