Amal Clooney Speaks Out About Her Experience Welcoming A Yazidi Refugee Into Her Home

The Clooneys helped Hazmin Avdal escape ISIS and now are sponsoring his college education.

After a joint $20 million donation to refugee programs with her husband George Clooney made headlines last year, Amal Clooney opened up this week about opening up their home to an Iraqi refugee. In a rare interview, the international human rights lawyer video-called into a segment of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. The episode, which was focused around a studio interview between George and host David Letterman, was released on Netflix this week. 

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In the segment, Letterman flew to Kentucky to meet with George's parents, Nick Clooney and Nina Warren, and Hazmin Avdal, the Yazidi refugee who the Clooneys helped bring to the U.S. and has been attending classes at the University of Chicago. When asked how the arrangement had come about, Nick's one-word response of "Amal" says it all. 

"When I met him, I remember being so struck by his courage but also just his amazing spirit and how he spoke about, even after everything he lost, he spoke about his desire for justice, not revenge," Amal said.

In 2016, Amal took on Nadia Murad, an Iraqi Yazidi woman who was captured by ISIS and forced to become a sex slave, as a client. Through Murad, Amal met Avdal, and, as ISIS continued to target the region, the Clooney family began working on getting Avdal to the U.S.

"You have to escape, make your way out," Avdal said of how his family's time outrunning ISIS in Iraq. "If you don't, you're gone."

Amal said the initial idea of helping him through college came during a dinner in New York City. 

"He spoke about his dream about one day studying in the U.S. and I knew we all had the same thought, which was, 'Well, maybe there's something we can do to help with that,'" she said. 

According to Avdal, returning to his hometown now would be impossible. The region, he said, has been destroyed by conflict. 

Cover image via Kostas Koutsaftikis / Shutterstock

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