Angelina Jolie’s Humanitarian Efforts
During the filming of Tomb Raider in Cambodia, Jolie became aware of worldwide humanitarian crises. She contacted UNHCR, the refugee agency of the United Nations, to learn more about the international problem. In February 2001, Jolie went on her first field visit, an 18-day mission to Sierra Leone and Tanzania. On August 27, 2001 Jolie was named UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador to UNHCR headquarters in Geneva.
Jolie has visited centers for refugees and displaced persons in over 20 countries. In 2002 she visited the Tham Hin refugee camp in Thailand and Colombian refugees in Ecuador. Later that year Jolie visited various UNHCR facilities in Kosovo and the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. She also met with Angolan refugees while filming “Beyond Borders” in Namibia.
In 2003, Jolie went on a six-day mission to Tanzania where they visited camps for Congolese refugees and then spent a week with displaced people in Sri Lanka. Later that year she went on a four-day mission to Ciskaukasië in Russia. In conjunction with the release of the film “Beyond Borders,” she published “Notes from My Travels,” a collection of diary entries about her field missions in 2001 and 2002. During a private stay in Jordan in December 2003, she visited Iraqi refugees, and later that month she went to Egypt to meet Sudanese refugees.
During her first UN trip in 2004, Jolie visited asylum seekers in Arizona, United States. In June of that year she flew to Chad to visit refugees from the Darfur region in western Sudan. Four months later, she returned to the area for a visit to West Darfur. Later that year Jolie met with Afghan refugees in Thailand, and during a private stay in Lebanon during the Christmas holidays she visited UNHCR’s regional office in Beirut, as well as some young refugees and cancer patients in the Lebanese capital.
In 2005 Jolie visited Afghan refugees in Pakistan, during the trip, she met the Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. In November she returned to Pakistan with Brad Pitt to the witness the disastrous effects of the Kashmir earthquak. During the filming of “A Mighty Heart” in India in 2006, Jolie met with Afghan and Burmese refugees in New Delhi. She spent Christmas Day with Colombian refugees from San Jose, Costa Rica where she handed out gifts. In 2007 Jolie returned to Chad for a two-day mission to evaluate the security situation for refugees from Darfur. Jolie and Pitt gave $ 1 million to three relief organizations in Chad and Darfur after witnessing poor conditions.
Jolie is heavily involved in promoting humanitarian relief in politics. Since 2003 she regularly meets with members of the U.S. Congress to lobby for humanitarian affairs, and she was a driving force behind several bills to promote the situation of refugees and vulnerable children in third world countries. Jolie has attended the World Refugee Conference several times in Washington DC, and she was a speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in 2005 and 2006. In 2007 she joined the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations.