7 Times Angelina Jolie Was The Ultimate Humanitarian!

Angelina Jolie is 47 Today! To celebrate, the feminist’s generous work, we have compiled a list of seven times she used her platform to make a positive difference in this chaotic world.

Hollywood icon Angelina Jolie is known for a lot more than her on-screen work! She began embracing philanthropic work in the early 2000s and still continues today. The accomplished actress has donated to countless causes and charitable organizations, started a foundation, and spent decades traveling the world to help those in need so to celebrate her birthday this year, here are seven times Angelina Jolie rose to activism.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador

UNHCR is an organization Jolie has invested a significant amount of her time into as a  Goodwill Ambassador. She was promoted to a diplomat in 2010 when she traveled to Peru and Colombia to visit Venezuelan refugees and carried out nearly 60 field missions. She quickly became an influential spokesperson for refugee advocacy and even met with Colombian President Iván Duque in 2019 to discuss her concerns for 20,000 Venezuelan children who were at risk of being without citizenship. Also in 2019, she spent three days in Bangladesh in hopes of raising $920 million for Rohingya refugees within the country for the largest refugee settlement. If you would like to find out more or help raise awareness, please check out the official UNHCR website below. 


Afghanistan Refugee Relief

In 2001, Jolie donated $1 million to UN refugee relief in Afghanistan, then visited the country for the first time in October of 2008 to get a better understanding of some of the family’s living situations and ensure that basic human needs were being met especially with winter approaching. Jolie also took note of the limited space within the villages due to a high population rate and lack of economic opportunities. Ten years later in 2011, Jolie offered a large donation to build an all-girls school in Qalai Gudar, a village in Shomali Plain, after more refugees began to return to Afghanistan. She used the earnings from her jewelry line, Style by Jolie, to fund the school and by 2012 the school was completed north of Kabul, the country’s capital. The all-girls school has about 450 students along with nine teachers and the location was selected specifically because it is in an area where female education hasn’t always been prioritized. Visit the UNHCR site to find out more ways you can help. 

The Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation

Jolie adopted her son, Maddox, from Cambodia in 2002 after filming her action movie, Tomb Raider. Being inspired by the country, Jolie launched the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation in 2003 which focuses specifically on improving rural villages in poverty within Cambodia in addition to preserving wildlife and protecting the environment. By 2006, the foundation had expanded to focus on other social causes related to education, gender equality, and healthcare. According to the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation site, at-risk families can access basic health and education necessities with the help of MJP. Jolie also received Cambodian citizenship in 2003 which was awarded to her by King Norodom Sihamoni for her conservation work.  

Council On Foreign Relations

In 2007, Jolie joined the Foreign Relations Council as a member to give people a better understanding of the world’s foreign policies and international relations. The goal of this independent, nonpartisan membership organization is to discuss, research and analyze foreign policies and begin conversations regarding these significant decisions. In 2008, she spoke in New York about international law and justice, check out some of her speech below.

Standing up Against Sexual Violence in War Zones

Jolie has spent years discussing war zone rape and how to stop it. In 2013, she appeared before the United Nations Security Council at UN Headquarters in New York to discuss why sexual violence is a top priority within the world. Jolie was also the co-chair at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in 2014, an event held in London by the UK government. She opened the four-day event with a speech that can be found below. On top of that, Jolie spoke against war-zone sexual violence at a news conference at Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh on February 5, 2019. She addressed the intergovernmental organization, United Nations, on why we must protect individuals, specifically women and young girls against sexual violence. She mentioned how important it is to her that these perpetrators are held accountable and how there must be better monitoring procedures in place to avoid these occurrences.

2014 Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict speech:

Shiloh Wildlife Sanctuary

In 2017, Jolie opened the Shiloh Wildlife Sanctuary in Namibia. Her daughter Shiloh, was born in Namibia, which inspired the sanctuary’s location. The sanctuary was launched through the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation with the help of the Naankuse Foundation and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism Namibia. The sanctuary was designed to assist and care for injured and orphaned rhinos and elephants that were the victims of poaching. The sanctuary consists of holding pens, crates, and veterinary equipment along with on-site veterinarians at all times. Animals at this sanctuary will be seen until they are ready to return to their original place of origin. In addition to helping rhinos and elephants, the sanctuary is currently caring for baboons, monkeys, meerkats, lions, leopards, caracals, and African wild dogs. To learn more or find ways you can help check out the official Naankuse site below. 

Women for Bees

The Women for Bees program was developed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, otherwise known as UNESCO to promote female entrepreneurship. The organization created a five-year program to build 2,500 beehives and repopulate 125 million bees by the year 2025 on top of training and supporting 50 women beekeepers. According to the UNESCO site, ‘50 participants from 25 biosphere reserves of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves will share knowledge among this new network of beekeepers and learn the theoretical and practical bases of sustainable beekeeping. Participants will have the possibility to become fully professional beekeeper-entrepreneurs and become members of an international network of women beekeepers’. A key component in why UNESCO partnered with Jolie and French cosmetic brand, Guerlain is to improve income in disadvantaged communities who can’t produce crops. By doing so, it will generate a continuous flow of income to rural areas where agricultural production is minimalized and improve food security by utilizing sustainable harvesting techniques. 


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Jolie has mentioned in numerous interviews that she does not want to be remembered for her acting, but the philanthropic work she has completed instead. She has used her fame for good by making a positive impact on so many individuals in need, and has endlessly proved herself as a humanitarian. We hope Jolie has a fantastic birthday; she deserves it!