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Thursday, February 24, 2011

UNHCR News Story: Q&A: Spanish clowns make refugees laugh with their favourite girlfriend (by UNHCR)


UNHCR News Story: Q&A: Spanish clowns make refugees laugh with their favourite girlfriend
Originally uploaded by UNHCR

UNHCR News Story: Q&A: Spanish clowns make refugees laugh with their favourite girlfriend

Tortell Poltrona, the clown with the red nose, performs at UNHCR's 60th birthday party in Geneva.
UNHCR/P.Bertscchmann

Q&A: Spanish clowns make refugees laugh with their favourite girlfriend

GENEVA, February 23 (UNHCR) – Jaume Mateu is a legend in the circus world of Spain's Catalonia region, where he's better known as Tortell Poltrona, the clown with the red nose. But when he grew up during the rule of the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, who died in 1975, laughter was a scarce commodity and clowns faced a lot of restrictions. At home in Barcelona, Mateu founded Circ Cric and the Circus Arts Research Centre and worked with other famous clowns and artists, including Joan Miró and Joan Brossa. But, as a founder and stalwart of Payasos sin Fronteras (Circus Without Borders), the 55-year-old has brought joy and happiness to thousands of young refugees and internally displaced people across the world. He has often worked with UNHCR and last December performed at the refugee agency's 60th birthday party in Geneva. He talked with UNHCR Web Editor Leo Dobbs. Excerpts from the interview:

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About YOUR HEROES

It is time to have a group in flickr that acknowledges the greatness of man, whoever that man is, whether that person is a she or a he. What is important is that you perceive that person to be YOUR HERO.

YOUR HERO can be your neighbor next door who went out of their way when you and your family needed help the most. He or she can be the teacher in your school, your officemate, friend or a kin.

YOUR HERO can also be your family members, government leaders, writers, journalists and more.

YOUR HERO can also be yourself.

Share photos that speak of "heroism" done at any given moment in your life or in the lives of the people known to you.

You can also post the portraits and biographies of your heroes too.

This is the group that will acknowledge them for whatever positive things they have contributed to your community or to the world.