If she weren’t drop dead gorgeous, you’d almost forget that Angelina Jolie is most famous for being an Oscar-winning actress. Why? Because her role as a Goodwill Ambassador United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) dwarfs her contribution to the entertainment industry. I mean let’s face it, movies don’t save lives — they merely prolong them.
Jolie recently visited Iraq on a humanitarian mission, where she met with top U.S. officials and locals to discuss the crisis taking place on the ground. In an interview with CNN’s Arwa Damon she said, “In my research before I came here I looked at the numbers and there are 4 million people displaced. Of the two million internally displaced, it’s estimated 58 percent are under 12 years old. It’s a very high number of people in a very, very vulnerable situation and a lot of young kids.
“I think the global community always has a responsibility to any humanitarian crisis and I think it’s in our best interests to address a humanitarian crisis on this scale because displacement can lead to a lot of instability.” When asked about the message she wanted to convey, Jolie spoke about the instability that resulted from displacement. In her views, how the displaced are handled affects how Iraq settles, and how Iraq settles affects the Middle East as a whole.
On a personal note, Jolie said, “I don’t see borders and I see lives and I see children and this is, you know, an environment where there is a war but there is a humanitarian crisis. And they have to be addressed simultaneously. We can’t wait for one to end to then finally take the time to address the other, it has to start right now.”
Jolie has already garnered wide recognition for her humanitarian endeavors, receiving the UN’s Citizen of the World Award in 2003, the Global Humanitarian Award in 2005 and most recently Freedom Award by the International Rescue Committee.
I wonder if these sit adjacent to her Academy Award. Knowing Jolie, they probably sit above it. And rightly so.