Angelina Jolie


Angelina Jolie's involvement in humanitarian affairs reached its peak in early 2000, when she travelled to Cambodia to film the adventure movie Tomb Raider. During the summer of 2001 she began participating in the field missions with UNHCR through Cambodia (July) and later spent a week with the Afghan refugees in Pakistan (August). On August 27, 2001, Angelina became the UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.

During the decade of her active humanitarian work, Jolie has carried out more than 40 field missions, meeting refugees and field workers to highlight the problem and advocate for the protection of refugees in more than 30 countries and regions including Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Pakistan, Cambodia, Thailand, Ecuador, Kenya, Namibia, Kosovo, Sri Lanka, the Russian Federation, Jordan, Egypt, Chad, Sudan's Darfur region, Lebanon, Iraq, India, Costa Rica, Afghanistan, Turkey, Tunisia, Haiti, Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Throughout her active involvement and during her missions, she has kept journals. Impressions from her first four missions were published in a book Notes from My Travels, Visits with Refugees in Africa, Cambodia, Pakistan and Ecuador (October 2003).

In 2011, through her advocacy work, Jolie has inspired others to take a more active role, not only in understanding the issues but also in providing support for solutions. In October 2011, the UNHCR High Commissioner Antonio Guterres recognized her 10 years of extraordinary service with the Refugee Agency by asking her to take on an expanded role as the UNHCR Special Envoy in some of the world's most difficult refugee situations. In her new role, she focuses on the large-scale crises resulting in mass population displacement. Her first mission as the Special Envoy was to Ecuador in April 2012.

Promoting Refugee Rights

In addition to her field work, Jolie advocates for refugee rights, meeting with senior government officials in many countries. She is also active with schools and promotion of UNHCR's educational materials.

During the last years, she has been the Honorary Patron of the Annual World Refugee Day school poster contest in the United States and in 2004 the Honorary Patron of the Greek Schools Essay Contest on refugee issues.

Supporting World Refugee Day (June 20)

Jolie is an active participant in the World Refugee Day each year, hosting public events and speaking to the media about her concerns for refugees. On June 16, 2004, she launched a five-day series of the World Refugee Day events in Washington D.C., with UNHCR and the Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as several other senior governmental officials. Jolie lobbies for and sponsors a project with UNHCR in the United States which will help to ensure legal counsel and assistance to unaccompanied minors seeking asylum.

On June 15, 2005, Angelina launched multiple World Refugee Day activities in Washington D.C. together with the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager who provided protection to people fleeing the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. She also met with the US Senators on the Capitol Hill seeking support for urgent refugee relief and protection operations.

For the World Refugee Day in 2006, Jolie appeared in a 30-second TV spot and urged the world not to forget refugees. Her message was broadcasted around the world in public service time. She was also the featured guest in a two-hour interview with CNN, which was broadcasted on the World Refugee Day. She expressed her concern for refugees and talked about her field travels and experiences as the UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.

In 2007, Jolie became a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Jolie has since funded various CFR special reports, including the Intervention to Stop Mass Atrocities and Genocide.

Cooperating with Business Leaders

In January 2005, Jolie participated in the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland. She participated in panel sessions leading discussions about corporate action for addressing the plight of refugees around the globe. She emphasized the important role the private sector can play in empowering refugees, enhancing their skills and ensuring they are positive change agents for the development.

In January 2006, she again participated in the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum. Angelina talked about the linkage between the human rights and the refugee rights, and drew attention of the participants to the forgotten humanitarian emergencies.

Winning Awards

In October 2003, Jolie was awarded the first UNCA Citizen of the World Award by the United Nations Correspondents Association in New York. Two years later in 2005, Jolie accepted the 2005 Global Humanitarian Action Award from the United Nations Association of the USA and the Business Council for the United Nations. The Award honoured Jolie for fulfilling her work as the Goodwill Ambassador with vigour and valuable insight, and being a voice for millions of refugees and internally displaced people around the world. In 2007, the International Rescue Committee awarded its Freedom Award to Jolie and the UNHCR High Commissioner Guterres for their contributions to the cause of refugees and human freedom.

Being Donor

While Jolie is most valued as a dedicated advocate for refugees, she has also been a generous donor to UNHCR. She has donated to many field operations in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Balkans and the Americas. She is often the first private donor to respond to UNHCR appeals for emergencies and forgotten refugee crises across the globe. She covers all of her expenses when she goes on mission with UNHCR, as well as costs related to her World Refugee Day activities and other refugee advocacy projects. For today, these contributions are amounting to more than US $5 million since 2001.

Detailed information on Angelina Jolie's activities as the UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and the Special Envoy can be found on the global UNHCR website: