UN Special Envoy, Human Rights Activist, & Filmmaker Angelina Jolie Has More On Her Plate Than Divorce
Today, many of us were shocked by the news that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are divorcing. Obviously, the news has led to massive speculation about their relationship, but let’s take a moment to remember that Angelina Jolie has a lot more going on than divorce. Jolie is a human rights activist, Special Envoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a visiting professor at the London School of Economics, an actress, and a filmmaker in her own right. Although it’s only natural for people to be focusing on the bombshell announcement that Jolie and Pitt are separating after more than a decade together, here’s a taste of what’s going on in the rest of Jolie’s life:
After serving as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UNHCR (the UN agency that supports refugees) for more than 10 years, Jolie was appointed as a Special Envoy for the UNHCR in 2012. (UN Dispatch points out that, in this role, Jolie is not a celebrity spokesperson; she is a “full fledged diplomat.”) As Special Envoy, she has gone on more than 15 field missions in support of refugees all over the world. Only this month, she spent three days in Jordan to meet with Syrian refugees and ask international leaders to end the conflict in Syria. “The gulf between our responsibilities and our actions has never been so wide,” she remarked in a press statement on September 9.
In March, Jolie visited Lebanon and Greece to discuss how to handle the influx of refugees from countries including Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia. She told People, “We need to get on top of this chaotic situation, working to end the conflicts that are creating refugees and ensuring that countries like Greece and Turkey have the means to identify and assist people with a genuine claim for asylum and take the necessary steps urgently to improve their asylum systems.”
Jolie has also taken on the title of “Visiting Professor.” In May, she joined the London School of Economics to co-teach a master’s program on “women, peace and security,” alongside former British foreign secretary, William Hague. “[I]t is vital that we broaden the discussion on how to advance women's rights and end impunity for crimes that disproportionately affect women, such as sexual violence in conflict,” Jolie said in a statement (via People).
Amid her work as a humanitarian and educator, Jolie continues to be involved in the film industry. Although she seems to be taking fewer acting roles, she has recently wrapped up directing her fifth film, First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia, for which she also co-wrote the script. The film, to be released on Netflix in the fall of 2016, is based on a memoir of the same title by Loung Ung. In the book, Ung recounts growing up as a child soldier in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge.
Jolie clearly has a lot to keep her busy in the coming months. Although a divorce is always a painful, stressful time, I think it’s safe to assume that Angelina Jolie still has many great things ahead of her.