After more than ten years of continuous work with UNHCR, Commissioner Antonio Guterres appointed her the Special Envoy, in 2012. In this role, Jolie represents UNHCR at the diplomatic level and strives to find solutions for mass population displacement. Furthermore, she has donated more than 5 million dollars to the organization, which have been used to build schools and implement other initiatives to improve the lives of the displaced. Most recently, Jolie has been lending her voice to raise awareness about the conflict in Syria: each day, an average of 5000 Syrians flee to neighboring countries. The activist movie star is a firm supporter of increasing humanitarian aid and developmental support to Syria and the surrounding countries affected by the bloody civil war.
Jolie‘s devotion to humanitarian causes has been recognized before: in 2003, she was the first recipient of the Citizen of the World Award by the United Nations Correspondents Association. In 2005, she was awarded the Global Humanitarian Award by the United Nations Association of the USA and the Business Council for the United Nations for her work with refugees. In 2013, Jolie received the Jean Hersholt Award for her philanthropic efforts as an impassioned advocate for human rights. The ceremony took place during the 2013 Governors Award, and she joined the year’s other honorees: Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin and Piero Tosi.
Courageous, beautiful and artistic, Angelina Jolie is an inspirational force for other women. As the matriarch of a multi-cultural brood that includes Maddox, Zahara, Shiloh, Pax, Knox and Vivienne, she is not afraid to see the world for what it truly is or to continue fighting for those in need. At World Refugee Day 2009, Jolie spoke about her inspiration and, in a powerful speech, she stated, “The refugees I have met and spent time with have profoundly changed my life. The eight-year-old girl who saved her brother taught me what it means to be brave. The pregnant woman in Pakistan taught me what it means to be a mother. And the paralyzed boy who had been shot in the back showed me, with his big smile, the strength of an unbreakable spirit.” ■