Angelina Jolie stepped down as a special envoy for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Friday, December 16. The actress, 47, released a joint statement with the organization, sharing that 21 years after beginning her work there, she would change her focus, but she pledged to keep on doing all she could to help refugees.
The Girl, Interrupted star began her statement by thanking everyone she’s worked to do good with. “I am grateful for the privilege and opportunity I have had to work with so many outstanding and dedicated UNHCR field officers and other colleagues doing lifesaving work globally, and to serve as Special Envoy,” she said. “I will continue to do everything in my power in the years to come to support refugees and other displaced people.”
She concluded by saying that she felt like over two decades after beginning working with the international group, she wanted to change her focus. “After 20 years working within the UN system I feel it is time for me to work differently, engaging directly with refugees and local organisations, and supporting their advocacy for solutions,” she said.
Angelina has been an ambassador for the UNHCR since 2001. She’s traveled the globe helping to spread awareness of the hardships that refugees all over the world experience, and has regularly made donations and helped to raise money for different organizations that give aid to refugees. She chronicled some of her work in her 2003 memoir Notes from My Travels: Visits with Refugees in Africa, Cambodia, Pakistan, and Ecuador. Besides the book, Angelina regularly posts about her humanitarian work on her Instagram. The press release from Angelina and the UNHCR highlighted that she had been on 60 field missions and noted that she’d continue to work with refugees.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi also highlighted how much the actress has done during her time with the UNHCR. “After a long and successful time with UNHCR, I appreciate her desire to shift her engagement and support her decision. I know the refugee cause will remain close to her heart, and I am certain she will bring the same passion and attention to a wider humanitarian portfolio. I look forward to our continued friendship,” he said.
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