By Annie Barrett
Updated June 19, 2009 at 02:15 PM EDT

The actress and activist, who serves as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, spoke at the World Refugee Day commemoration in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. Expected guest Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had broken her elbow in an accident and could not attend. The Today Show‘s Ann Curry filled in to host the event for Anderson Cooper, who suffered flight problems. The ceremony’s audience heard firsthand stories from refugees who have been relocated to the United States, and cheered via webcam along with students from a school in a Chad refugee camp. “They are the most impressive people I have ever met,” Jolie said of the refugees, according to