She is a top model, screenwriter, director and Academy Award winning actress. She has been the face of various brands and has made it to various lists of ‘Most Beautiful Women’. She is Hollywood’s highest paid actress. Yet today, Angelina Jolie is acknowledged not so much for being a beautiful award-winning actress who has endorsed various products than she is for being a humanitarian, who has sought to change the lives of millions.When talking of people who have strived to make a difference, one has to think of Angelina Jolie. Jolie first came across the humanitarian crises that plagued the society in 2001 while filming Lara Croft in Cambodia and saw the problems that were making life difficult for people in a war-torn nation. Deciding to do something about it, she contacted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to garner information about the areas in the world where similar trouble was brewing. She resolved to work for the refugees who were suffering and started visiting various refugee camps. The reason stated by her for joining the UNHCR was her belief that in order to have a world of justice and equality, it is necessary that those who are in trouble be helped by those who are capable of providing such assistance. She visited conflict prone nations like Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Pakistan; and was appalled to see the condition of the refugees. This further strengthened her resolve to work for refugees and donated $1 million an emergency appeal by UNHCR. Recognizing her efforts and her determination, she was named the UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. Since then, Jolie has visited what she calls ‘forgotten emergencies’ areas from where media attention had been diverted. She has made all travels at her own cost and lived in unfriendly conditions to become aware of the suffering of refuges and internally displaced persons. Even the threat of violence did not deter her from pursuing her mission. Hence, she even travelled to dangerous and volatile regions like Syria-Iraq and Darfur. Taking cognizance of her efforts for more than a decade by visiting more than 20 countries, Angelina was made Special Envoy to High Commissioner Guteress in 2012 and now represents UNHCR in diplomatic efforts aimed at formulating solutions for improvement in the conditions of refugees. Apart from being engaged in a struggle to seek better conditions for refugees, Jolie has been involved in various other projects. In 2006, she established a Millennium Village in Cambodia, the first in Asia to contribute to UN’s Millennium Development Goals by increasing community empowerment and reforming a rural subsistence economy into small enterprise development economy. Realizing that eradication of humanitarian problems requires a more concrete and broad based approach; she started promoting her cause at a political level. She espoused humanitarian interests by meeting senators and members of the US Congress. Jolie has voiced her views through the World Economic Forum, a platform where people from politics, business, academia and media come together, thus making herself heard across different groups. Angelina Jolie’s various other contributions deserve appreciation. She has been involved in campaigns against sexual violence in military conflict zones and has travelled to places where rape is used as a weapon of war. Making speeches before UN Security Council and the G8, she has urged these organizations and groups to develop international standards for prosecuting and punishing war rape. Proving her commitment to humanity, she contracted with the People Magazine allowing them to print the first picture showing her visibly pregnant in exchange for a $500,000 donation to the charity. Jolie is an advisor for the Yele Haiti Foundation that uses media, sports and music to spread awareness about community development projects. Jolie also co-chairs the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, which assists in funding educational programs for children affected by war. Founded in 2006 at the Clinton Global Inititive, annual meetings of the organization have brought together heads of state, Nobel Peace Prize winners, leading global CEOs, major philanthropists and foundation heads, directors of non-governmental organizations, and members of the media. Jolie along with her partner Brad Pitt funds about 30 charities and non-governmental organizations that include Afghanistan Relief Organization, Human Rights Watch, Peace One Day and SOS Childrens’ Villages. Jolie and Pitt established the Jolie-Pitt Foundation in 2006, by making a donation of $1 million to Doctors Without Borders and Global Action for Children. Their foundation is dedicated to eradication of poverty and protecting and conserving wildlife and natural resources. Angelina Jolie has received various awards and honors for her service to humanity including Citizen of the World Award by UN, Global Humanitarian Award by UN-USA, and the Freedom Award by International Rescue Committee. She has selflessly dedicated herself to humanity and deserves respect and applause for tirelessly serving millions across the globe. She is a perfect combination of beauty- both outer and inner.
About the Author: This article is contributed by Kudrat Agarwal, our Intern.