Angelina Jolie: Why She Won the Humanitarian Award

Angelina Jolie: Why She Won the Humanitarian AwardAngelina Jolie was moved to tears as she accepted the Jean Hersholt Humantarian Award on Saturday night. The actress was honored with this award for her humanitarian efforts at the fifth Governors Awards ceremony that took place on Saturday night. The ceremony is a gathering for the brightest lights in Hollywood, not only the most famous but also the most influential and inspiring.

Jolie has proven herself to be women of gentle strength, embracing others’ pain of poverty with a grace seldom recognized. Jolie is an actor, writer, philanthropist, director and mother and has participated in over 30 films to date. As well as having immersed herself in more than 40 United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) field missions, she has also founded numerous organizations with benevolent field missions of their own. Due to her far-reaching fame, she has been successful in not only providing much needed aid to those in need but also in being a figure head of inspiration for the impressionable youth who look toward the Hollywood stars for standards.

These are some of the reasons cited by the academy for honoring Jolie with the humanitarian award and her tears were flowing as she expressed appreciation to the people who have been influential in her life.

Although there are some who cite Jolie’s humanitarian efforts as being mere publicity stunts, actions speak louder than words and the actions of this actress have moved the hearts of many people in all parts of the globe.

Jolies’s career received a kick-start after she won Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Girl, Interrupted 13 years ago. Shortly thereafter her role in Lara Croft: Tombraider landed her in Cambodia where she met the Cambodian people who were reeling in the war torn country. She has admitted that her life only really began after the eye-opening trip to Cambodia.

Upon witnessing the struggles of the Cambodian people Jolie put herself in touch with the United Nations. This was the birth of her work within the field missions of the UNHCR.

Jolie has spent time working in and around 30 different countries to assist refugees, officials and relief groups helping to publicize the plights of the people. In an effort to broaden her humanitarian scope she founded the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children, which she continues to fund today. The center aims to provide young immigrants who have come to the US for asylum with free legal aid. Some of the other organizations Jolie has co-created include Kids in Need of Defense, Jolie Legal Fellows Program, Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, and the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation- named after Maddox, her Cambodia-born son.

Jolie has successfully integrated her fame and talents with her humanitarian heart as can be seen with her 2011 directorial debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey. The films highlights the horrific effect of the Bosnian War during the 1990’s, centering on the universal theme of love and the connection of two people, one Bosnian-Serbian army officer and one Muslim prisoner, against the violent backdrop of the genocidal war.

In 2012, Jolie and the U.K Foreign Secretary, William Hague, combined efforts to raise awareness about how rape is employed as a war weapon. Together they gave a presentation at the 2013 G8 Foreign Ministers’ conference in London which prompted 119 countries, over half of the UN members, to sanction a commitment to bring sexual violence in conflict to an end.

Throughout all the pain and hardships she has seen, Jolie strives to maintain a motivated and positive stance towards co-creating effective change. She is aware that one does not need to suffer in order to help the suffering, as is illustrated in a statement made during a trip to an African camp in 2009, “A refugee woman, living nowhere, raising five kids with no food, does not need me to cry. She isn’t crying. She needs me to go find some solutions for her.”

Jolie was both honored and humble as she received the award, and is by no means finished with the award winning humanitarian work that she is committed to.

Jessica Rosslee

USA Today

ib Times

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