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Showing posts with label Angelina Jolie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Angelina Jolie. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Jolie Promoted from Goodwill Ambassador to Special Envoy for the UN

Angelina Jolie has become one of the Highest Diplomatic Officials in the World

Special Envoy Angelina Jolie (photo: Reuters)
GENEVA (AP) – After a decade of promoting refugee causes around the world, Angelina Jolie herself has been promoted.

The United Nations refugee agency has elevated the Hollywood star from being a goodwill ambassador to a special envoy, a role that will see her represent the organization to governments and diplomats.

It is the first time the U.N. refugee agency has named a special envoy, said its spokesman Adrian Edwards. Elsewhere in the global body such posts are usually reserved for career diplomats or retired politicians.

"Her work does go substantially beyond what we would typically see as being the normal role of a goodwill ambassador," Edwards told reporters in Geneva. "I don't think you need a rocket scientist to see the benefits that she is bringing in terms of the attention that she is getting for the plight of the world's displaced."

Jolie has jetted the world on behalf of the organization over the past ten years, making high-profile visits to refugee camps in Iraq, Haiti and Pakistan, among other places.

Apart from her time, Jolie has also given large personal donations to the organization, which relies entirely on voluntary contributions from governments, companies and individuals.

"She has donated substantially to refugees," said Edwards, noting that the actress/director won't receive any money for her role. "There is to my knowledge absolutely no connection between any donation of money and this role."

Jolie's new position will focus on the complex crises that result in the mass displacement of people, such as in Afghanistan and Somalia. In addition, on special occasions she will represent the U.N.'s High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres.

"That can mean conveying messages to governments. It can mean conveying messages to other people and partners that we work with," said Edwards.

UNHCR works to help almost 35 million refugees and internally displaced people around the world. It was established to aid millions of Europeans displaced by World War II and has since become one of the world's most prominent humanitarian organizations.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stars Shine Light on Global Causes

Public: Politicians more Apt to Focus on Touted Policies

Joshua E. Keating | Foreign Policy

Between the Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga-fueled spread of the Kony 2012 campaign and George Clooney’s arrest in Washington D.C., celebrity activism seems to be the trending topic of the moment.

Activists tend to grumble at celebrity do-gooders, but cable networks and politicians tend to focus on the world’s undercovered hotspots more easily when there’s a famous face to go along with a worthy cause. Here’s a look at 10 stars who, for better or worse, are shaping the debate on global poverty and conflict.

George Clooney | Cause: Sudan

Actor George Clooney embraces activist Dick
Gregory during a protest at the Sudan Embassy
in Washington D.C. this month. The actor was
among people arrested at the protest.
In 2010, the actor helped found the Satellite Sentinel project to monitor human rights abuses in South Sudan. More recently, he traveled to Sudan to document violence in the Nuba mountains, where the Sudanese government is accused of blocking humanitarian assistance as part of an effort to crack down on separatists.

Upon his return, he testified before Congress, debriefed President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on his trip and sat next to first lady Michelle Obama at British Prime Minister David Cameron’s state dinner.

On March 16, he was arrested along with his father at a protest outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington.

Don Cheadle | Cause: Sudan

The “Hotel Rwanda” star has, for years, been associated with the Enough Project, which works to raise awareness of crimes against humanity, particularly in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Cheadle toured Darfur with the group in 2005 and said the experience made it impossible to return to “my comfortable life and take stock in all the privileges … and do nothing.” In 2007, Cheadle co-wrote the book “Not On Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond” with Enough Project founder John Prendergast.

Along with Clooney, Cheadle was an outspoken advocate for South Sudanese independence.

Angelina Jolie | Cause: Children and War

Jolie says her interest in humanitarian work was first piqued in 2000, when she traveled to Cambodia to film “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.” The following year, she was appointed a goodwill ambassador by the U.N. High Commission for Refugees.

Jolie is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a perch she’s used to raise awareness of women in war.

But Jolie’s advocacy has mostly focused on the impact of war on children. With her partner Brad Pitt, Jolie has also adopted children from Cambodia, Vietnam and Ethiopia, and may be partly responsible for an uptick in international adoptions.

Oprah Winfrey | Cause: Education in Africa

The talk-show queen may have thought she had found a fairly controversy-free way to do good by funding a $40 million leadership academy for young women in South Africa, but the project has been dogged by controversy from the start. First, there were some who questioned whether Winfrey’s money could have helped more children if she hadn’t insisted on amenities such as a yoga studio, beauty salon and 200-thread-count sheets at the facility. Other scandals at the academy include sexual-assault allegations against one of the school matrons and the discovery of a dead newborn baby in the bag of one of the students.

Oprah Winfrey walks with honor graduates after the first graduation ceremony at her leadership academy for girls in South Africa. Winfrey has also been a high-profile supporter of Invisible Children’s Stop Kony campaign and has had the group’s founders on her show.

Bono | Cause: Debt Relief, Foreign Aid

The one-named Irish rocker has become a virtual shorthand for show-business activism and was named the most politically effective celebrity of all time in 2011 by National Journal. He’s been particularly outspoken on the topic of Third World debt relief and foreign aid in Africa.

He was at George W. Bush’s side in 2002 when the then president announced a $5 billion increase in aid to Africa. In 2006, he helped organized the Product Red campaign, in which companies like Apple and the Gap sold “Red”-branded goods to raise money for AIDS charities.

Bono has also made a point of partnering with Christian evangelical groups on his humanitarian projects and was a speaker at one of Bush’s national prayer breakfasts.

Ben Affleck | Cause: Eastern Congo

“The Town” star has traveled repeatedly to the restive Eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 2007 to raise money to help alleviate poverty in the region and raise awareness of its ongoing violence. He has brought along traveling companions including Cindy McCain and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2011.

In 2010, he founded his own NGO, the Eastern Congo Initiative, to raise funds for civil society-building projects in the region. He has testified before Congress on the issue of child soldiers and sexual assault in the region and urged the Obama administration to appoint a special envoy to the DRC.

Affleck recently praised the Kony 2012 campaign for raising international awareness about the Lord’s Resistance Army, which has been active in Eastern Congo, but cautioned that “Westerners are not and will never be the ‘saviors’ of Africa.”

Kristen Bell, Ryan Gosling | Cause: Uganda, LRA

Bell and Gosling can rightfully claim to have been on the Stop Kony bandwagon before Invisible Children’s incredibly successful Kony 2012 viral video campaign made the African warlord a household name last week. Bell has been the controversial group’s most dedicated celebrity spokesperson and has lobbied Congress on its behalf and recorded videos promoting its message. A visualization of how the Kony 2012 meme spread throughout Twitter shows the actress has a surprising level of social media clout.

For his part, Gosling has traveled to Uganda, Congo and Darfur and spoken out on behalf of Invisible Children and the Enough Project. But his efforts at advocacy filmmaking, including a scripted film on child soldiers and a documentary about a Darfuri refugee camp, have been less successful than his soaring Hollywood career.

“They both failed. I’ve not done very well,” he told the Guardian newspaper last year.

Natalie Portman | Cause: Mircofinance

The Israeli-American starlet first took an interest in microfinance – the practice of giving small loans to developing world entrepreneurs, generally women – in her senior year at Harvard.

Portman has become an evangelist for the concept, serving as a goodwill ambassador for the microfinance organization FINCA and co-chair of its Village Banking campaign, along with Jordan’s Queen Rania. She has also toured U.S. college campuses to promote microfinance.

Danny Glover | Multiple causes

The actor and activist has served as a Goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Development Program and as UNICEF ambassador, and is chairman of the advocacy group TransAfrica Forum. Glover has courted controversy in the United States by meeting with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and with his fierce criticism of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

“I think the World Bank either has to be abolished or it has to change,” he said in an interview promoting the anti-globalization film “Bamako.” In 2011, Glover stepped into a statesman’s role when he traveled to South Africa to accompany exiled Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide back to his home country.

Madonna | Cause: Children in Malawi

The Material Girl may have made a career out of courting controversy, but the kind attracted by her charity in Malawi hasn’t exactly been the welcome variety.

In 2006, she founded Raising Malawi, a charity aimed at providing education and aid to Malawi’s children. The foundation has been criticized for squandering millions of dollars in donations on a school that was never built and attempting to evict people from their homes to build a school. The country’s government has declined to work with the singer on her foundation’s latest construction plan, with a spokeswoman saying, “We now feel like this is all about propping up her global image and not in our interest.”

Then there was her protracted legal battle with the father of a child she wanted to adopt.

Of course, Madonna may have something to prove. Her ex-husband, Sean Penn, has earned international attention for his relief work in Haiti.

Originally published as Stars Shine Light on Global Causes by The Journal Gazette.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Angelina Jolie Defends Everyone's Human Rights

Who better to add to a list of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender profiles than Angelina Jolie?    Maybe it is too easy a choice, that it is just wishful thinking?  No, for when Barbara Walters asked Jolie in an interview if she was bisexual, Jolie responded: "Of course. If I fell in love with a woman tomorrow, would I feel that it's okay to want to kiss and touch her? If I fell in love with her? Absolutely! Yes!"

Defending Human Rights

Born in 1975 in Los Angeles to actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand, Jolie has one older brother.  After her parents’ separation in 1976, Jolie moved with her mother and brother to Palisades, New York until she was eleven.  Once back in Los Angeles, she began a fascination with knives, wearing of dark clothes and began her “cutting” phase to ease the pain she felt for being ridiculed for her appearance.  She also spent a few years attending the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute.  Her interest in acting came not from her father’s career, but from going to the movies with her mother.

An Actress and Ambassador 

Her early career included modeling and appearing in music videos for Lenny Kravitz and for Meatloaf, as well as acting in some of her brother’s student films.  She appeared in the movie Hackers, where she met her first husband, actor Jonny Lee Miller.  She gave a moving performance in Gia, playing the supermodel Gia Carangi, whose life was cut short due to drug addiction and AIDS.  Her real breakthrough came with Girl, Interrupted in 1999 for which she won an Academy Award, as well as her third Golden Globe and second Screen Actors Guild Award. 

Other notable movies include Lara Croft:  Tomb Raider, Life or Something Like It, Beyond Borders, Original Sin, and Alexander.  In 1999, while shooting Pushing Tin, she met her husband, actor Billy Bob Thornton.  Many remember this time of red carpet appearances as full of public displays of affection between the two and the fact that they wore vials of each other’s blood around their necks.  1996’s Foxfire brought her into a relationship with her co-star Jenny Shimizu.  In 2003, she said of the relationship, “I would probably have married Jenny if I hadn't married my husband. I fell in love with her the first second I saw her."  Her more recent films include 2007’s A Mighty Heart and 2008’s Changeling, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award. 

It was during the filming of Mr. and Mrs. Smith in 2005, that she met her current partner, Brad Pitt.  Though she was accused by many for the breakup of Pitt’s marriage to actress Jennifer Aniston, there was no public confirmation of their relationship until her 2006 People magazine interview where she declared herself pregnant with Pitt’s child.  Since then, the couple has adopted three children from Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Vietnam, and has given birth to two daughters and one son. 

It was during her time in Cambodia filming Tomb Raider that Jolie became interested in humanitarian issues.  As Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Jolie has traveled to Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Ecuador, to name a few.  She has spoken before Congress and continues to donate her time and money on behalf of children, refugees and other humanitarian issues around the world.  In 2006, she and Pitt founded the Jolie/Pitt Foundation to which they made donations of $1 million each to Doctors Without Borders and Global Action for Children.

In February, 2000, female readers of Jane magazine voted her “The Female Actor who Makes your Knees Weak”, and Jolie responded, “They're right to think that about me, because I'm the person most likely to sleep with my female fans. I genuinely love other women. And I think they know that."   Later that same year, Elle magazine asked her about relationships, and Jolie answered, “Honestly, I like everything. Boyish girls, girlish boys, the heavy and the skinny. Which is a problem when I'm walking down the street.”  Pitt is no slouch either in the LGBT world, stating in Parade magazine, “I have love in my life, a soul mate–absolutely. When someone asked me why Angie and I don’t get married, I replied, ‘Maybe we’ll get married when it’s legal for everyone else.’ I stand by that, although I took a lot of flak for saying it–hate mail from religious groups. I believe everyone should have the same rights. They say gay marriage ruins families and hurts kids. Well, I’ve had the privilege of seeing my gay friends being parents and watching their kids grow up in a loving environment.”

Angelina Jolie has homes in several countries and lives with her partner Brad Pitt and their six children.

Galveston LGBT Parenting Examiner
by: Tracy Kachtick-Anders, Blog Author at (Tracy is an artist, doula, and director of Open Arms Campaign, a non-profit to recruit foster and adoptive families)

This article was selected for republication at the Goodwill Ambassadors of the World Blog as a best practice example for new bloggers, it is well-written, entertaining, and informative. For information how to become a guest or volunteer author for Goodwill Ambassadors of the World, submit your name, Facebook profile and article summary proposals to