Angelina Jolie Pitt Fact Sheet
Extraordinary Service to Refugees
Angelina Jolie Pitt's interest in humanitarian affairs was piqued in 2000 when she went to Cambodia to film the adventure movie, "Tomb Raider." She soon began travelling with UNHCR to the field and, ever since, her interest and determination to help the displaced, publicize their plight and lobby for international assistance has never flagged. Named a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in 2001, Jolie Pitt has carried out more than 40 field missions to some of the most remote regions of the world to highlight the plight of millions of uprooted people and to advocate for their protection.
In 2012, High Commissioner António Guterres recognized her years of extraordinary service with the refugee agency by appointing her as his Special Envoy. In her new and expanded role, she focuses on large-scale crises resulting in mass population displacement. She visited Ecuador in April 2012 month for her first mission as Special Envoy.
In addition to her field missions for UNHCR, Jolie Pitt has made it her mission to give a voice to refugees and internally displaced people. She undertakes advocacy on their behalf, representing UNHCR and the High Commissioner at the diplomatic level and engaging with others on global displacement issues. Her work helps to facilitate lasting solutions for people displaced by conflict and has inspired others to take a more active role.
The Special Envoy's commitment to the organization is further demonstrated through her donations to UNHCR, amounting to more than US$5 million since 2001. The funds have gone towards building schools - in locations such as Kenya and Afghanistan - as well as other initiatives aimed at improving the lives of the forcibly displaced.
In addition to her work for UNHCR, Jolie Pitt continues to travel to bear witness to and support disaster relief, vulnerable children, environmental conservation, and international law and justice efforts worldwide. In 2003, she started the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation project dedicated to conservation in Cambodia, which later expanded to agriculture, education, health care, vocational training, infrastructure, rural planning and microcredit programmes.
In 2005, she launched the National Centre for Refugee and Immigrant Children, an organization that provides free legal aid to young asylum-seekers. In 2008, she partnered with Microsoft to launch Kids in Need of Defence (KIND), a pro bono movement of law firms, corporate law departments, NGOs and volunteers committed to providing legal advice to unaccompanied immigrant children in the United States. She also co-chairs the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, which helps fund education programmes for children affected by conflict.
In 2007, Jolie Pitt became a member of the influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Jolie Pitt has since funded various CFR special reports, including the "Intervention to Stop Mass Atrocities and Genocide." Following several visits to Haiti in 2010, she established the Jolie Legal Fellows Programme to enhance government capacity around the rule of law. The programme places young lawyers within the existing structures in Haiti to support the government's child protection efforts.
The Jolie-Pitt Foundation, meanwhile, has provided funding in Namibia to the N/a'an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary for the care of injured wildlife and to help minimize conflict between humans and wild animals. Jolie has funded children's centres in Cambodia and Ethiopia which apply innovative and integrated treatment for children infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
Jolie Pitt's devotion to humanitarian causes has not gone unnoticed. In 2003, she was the first recipient of the Citizen of the World Award by the United Nations Correspondents Association, and 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 2007, the International Rescue Committee awarded its Freedom Award to Jolie Pitt and High Commissioner Guterres for their contributions to the cause of refugees and human freedom. In October 2011, the UN refugee agency paid tribute to Jolie Pitt, for her 10 years of service to the humanitarian cause as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.