SEATTLE, Washington — Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie is known as one of Hollywood’s most charitable celebrities. Throughout the years she has not only donated her time and money but also used her platform to draw attention to issues in underdeveloped countries. Jolie has been a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) since 2001. In that time, she has made many trips to refugee camps around the world and has visited countries with a high population living in poverty. Below are five of Angelina Jolie’s international visits.
Angelina Jolie’s International Visits
- Tanzania: Angelina Jolie first visited refugee camps in Tanzania in 2001 when first becoming involved with the United Nations (U.N.). She visited again in 2003, this time following a group of children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Jolie saw first-hand what happened when the kids came to Tanzania, including how they were registered, how they traveled to the refugee camp and how they received resources. During this trip, Jolie donated $50,000 to an orphanage in Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam. The orphanage housed refugee children, many of whom lost their parents to AIDS. Her donation was used to educate the children living in the orphanage.
- Cambodia: Jolie has a long history with the country of Cambodia. The country granted her citizenship in 2005. Jolie first visited Cambodia in 2000 and returned two years later to adopt her son Maddox. When Jolie first visited Cambodia in 2000, the country was still recovering from the genocide that killed almost a quarter of the entire population in the 1970s. Though struck with poverty, Jolie says she found the people to be kind, warm and open. In 2015, Jolie directed the Netflix film in Cambodia, “First They Killed My Father” based on the memoir of the same name. Two of her children were working on the production with her. The film told a deeply personal story of one woman’s journey during the genocide and earned Jolie a Golden Globe nomination.
- Namibia: In 2003, Jolie had filmed a historical drama called “Beyond Borders” in the African country of Namibia. She fell in love with the beauty of the country. Nearly three years later, she and former husband Brad Pitt decided to give birth to their daughter, Shiloh, in Namibia. The couple charged $3 million for the first photo of the baby. They gave the money to the U.N. Giving birth in Namibia opened Jolie’s eyes to how much work needs to be done for women’s health. She realized this after she was treated at a good hospital that lacked an ultrasound machine.
- Colombia: In June 2019, Jolie visited Colombia’s capital city of Bogota to show support to Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. These three countries have struggled through a Venezuelan refugee crisis due to an economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. Jolie spoke at a press conference as a special envoy for the Office of the UNHCR. She also met with Colombian President Ivan Duque to discuss the 20,000 Venezuelan children “at risk of being without basic citizenship rights.”
- Bangladesh: In February 2019, Jolie visited Bangladesh to assess the mistreatment of refugees who have now fled to Bangladesh from the violence in Myanmar. Jolie wanted to ensure that refugees in Bangladesh had formal access to education and medical care if need be. Jolie also met with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, and Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen. She additionally thanked the Bangladesh government for its generosity when accepting 700,000 refugees.
Angelina Jolie’s international visits have all had positive impacts on different nations. These visits have given Jolie opportunities to see firsthand what is happening in these nations. Furthermore, she has also been able to expose her children to humanitarian work. As Jolie continues to use her platform to help the less fortunate, the people in these countries will continue to see improvements in their quality of life as well as know that someone is always on their side.
– Alyson Kaufman
Photo: U.S. Dept of Defense