Angelina Jolie is as well-known for her humanitarian work as she is for her movie roles. She first became involved in world humanitarian efforts in 2001 while filming Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in Cambodia. She contacted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to find out about the international areas in trouble. She visited some of those locations, starting in February 2001 with Sierra Leone and Tanzania. Later that same year, she returned to Cambodia, then went on to Pakistan. She lived under the same conditions as the other UNHCR field staff. Later that year, she was named a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador at the UNHCR headquarters in Geneva.
Since that time, she has visited over 30 countries, including those at war. In 2004, she visited Darfur during the War in Darfur, Pakistan with partner Brad Pitt following the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, and Chad in 2007 during its civil war. She made two trips to Iraq during the Second Gulf War in 2007 and 2009, two trips to Afghanistan in 2008 and 2011, and one trip to Libya in 2011 during the Libyan civil war.
She has used her high-profile celebrity status to advance humanitarian causes through mass media. They include her book Notes from My Travels, her 2003 film Beyond Borders, a 2005 MTV special The Diary of Angelina Jolie & Dr. Jeffrey Sachs in Africa, and many other causes. She annually promotes World Refugee Day and attends the Washington D. C. event on a regular basis. Her lobbying efforts have led her to meet with members of Congress on behalf of bills that aid children in third world countries and the U.S. She has been a guest speaker at various international organizations and became a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in 2007.
Jolie is linked to several charitable organizations that have to do with children. The Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation (2003), the Maddox Chivan Children’s Center in partnership with the Global Health Committee (2006), the Jolie-Pitt Foundation (2006) in partnership with Brad Pitt, and the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict (2007) in partnership with Dr. Gene Sperling are all for aiding children due to medical, environmental, man-made, or natural disasters.
She was awarded the first Citizen of the World Award in 2003 by the United Nations Correspondents Association. In 2005, her work with refugees resulted in her receiving the first Global Humanitarian Award by the United Nations Association of the USA and the Business Council for the United Nations. Jolie and UN High Commissioner Antonio Guterres were given the 2007 Freedom Award by the International Rescue Committee.
The UN refugee committee honored Jolie in 2011 for her 10 years of service as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. In 2012, High Commissioner Guterres honored her service by appointing her as his Special Envoy. She will focus on large-scale crises resulting from mass population displacement.
Written by: Cynthia Collins, Guardian Correspondent
Source: UNHCR Angelina Jolie