“I remember being so struck by his courage, but also by his amazing spirit.”
When he first revealed his hope of studying in the US, Hazim Avdal probably had no idea that this A-list couple would make it happen,
However, that’s the reality for the Iraqi refugee, who’s now a student at the University of Chicago—and a resident of Amal and George Clooney’s Kentucky home.
The inspiring story began when Beirut-born human rights lawyer Amal met Avdal while representing Yazidis, the minority Kurdish group persecuted by ISIS.
“I’ve had the privilege of representing a number of Yazidis who have been the victims of genocide perpetrated by ISIS over the past couple of years, that’s how I met Hazim,” Amal revealed in a brief (and rare) interview this week.
The activist Skyped with David Letterman as part of an interview focused on husband George, which landed on Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction over the weekend.
As Letterman met Avdal, along with George’s dad Nick, the couple appeared via iPad to recount just how they came to help the refugee rebuild his life in the States.
“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 added.
When 23-year-old Avdal revealed his desire to further his education in the company of the Clooneys and George’s parents, the seed was sown.
“He spoke about his dream about one day studying in the US and I knew we all had the same thought, which was, ‘Well, maybe there’s something we can do to help with that,'” Amal said.
Avdal, who fled Iraq in 2014, is now enrolled on a computer studies degrees at the University of Chicago.
The couple, who wed in Venice in 2014, are well-known for their philanthropic efforts, last year pledging Dhs9.18 million towards helping educate Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Dhs3.67 million towards fighting hate groups in the US.
During the insightful interview, George also opened up about his feelings for Amal, with whom he welcomed twins Ella and Alexander in June last year.
“I felt that I had met someone who I would absolutely trade my life for. I’d met someone that her life meant more to me than my life. I’d never had that experience before,” the Ocean’s Eleven star told Letterman on meeting his wife.
“She is this remarkable human being and now mother, which is something I suppose you should assume she would be wonderful at as well.
“When you see it in person, it makes you feel incredibly proud.”
The actor previously revealed, in a preview for the show, that he didn’t even “leave the house” to be introduced to the British-Lebanese lawyer back in 2013.
“No, it’s the wildest thing. A mutual friend of ours said, ‘I’m stopping by and can I bring my friend?’” he told Letterman.
“And I was like, ‘Of course.’ I got a call from my agent who called me and said, ‘I met this woman who’s coming to your house who you’re gonna marry.'”
“And the funniest thing was my mom and dad were visiting, so my parents were there, and we just talked and we stayed up all night talking,” he revealed.
Following their initial meeting, the two swapped email addresses so Amal could send across some photos she had taken of the family that night.
“We started writing and I didn’t really know if she wanted to go out with me,” he said. “I just thought, you know, we were buddies.”
Though now, five years on, it’s clear that it was just the start of the pair’s fairy tale.
Images: Getty, screen grab/Netflix