Hardly any international star has represented the work of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) as prominently and persistently as Angelina Jolie. Since 2001, the US actress has repeatedly drawn media attention to crisis areas that otherwise do not play a major role in public perception.
According to the UNHCR, she traveled to crisis areas more than 60 times. Most recently, she drew attention to the catastrophic situation on the ground through visits to Yemen and Burkina Faso. Pakistan and Ukraine were also among her destinations this year.
Now the 47-year-old actress and the refugee agency gave in a joint statement announced the end of their collaboration. Jolie said after 20 years of working within the UN system, she felt “it’s time for me to work in a different way, directly with refugees and organizations on the ground.” She will continue to do “everything in my power” to support refugees and other displaced people in the coming years.
“I am grateful for the privilege and opportunity to work alongside and serve as a goodwill ambassador with so many outstanding and dedicated UNHCR field workers and other colleagues doing lifesaving work around the world,” said the Oscar winner and ex-wife of Actor Brad Pitt.
UNHCR supports change
Jolie has worked with UNHCR since 2001 and was appointed Goodwill Ambassador in 2012. UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi expressed his gratitude for Jolie’s “decades of service”. He supports Jolie’s decision to “change her commitment” and looks forward to “the friendship between us” continuing.
The organization named Angelina Jolie as one of its most influential advocates for refugee rights. The actress has worked “tirelessly” to bring stories of “both suffering and hope” to the world, the UNHCR said.
mak/rb (dpa, afp, unhcr.org)