Angelina Jolie has always been vocal about her desire to help others and make the world a better place. And on Wednesday (Mar. 15), she reaffirmed her goal with a visit to the United Nations Refugee Centre (UNHCR) in Geneva.
The philanthropist met with officials of the agency and gave a moving speech to hundreds of staff members whose job it is to save those in need. She also encouraged people all over the world to work together to ‘unite our strength to maintain international peace and security,’ and ‘to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.’”
“This is like coming home. I was first here 16 years ago and had no idea what was ahead of me. I am sure many of you sometimes feel the same way,” she said adding that she understands the pressure each individual must feel given 65 million refugees are currently seeking permanent shelter.
“You have more people under your care, you have more to be concerned with, you have more to do, and you have less support, and I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you sometimes coming to work every day,” she noted. “And, I know, many days you must feel, when you read the news, when you do your work, when you go into the field, ‘are we doing enough? Will we ever be able to do enough? Will we ever be able to get on top of this situation?’”
The mom to six went on to say that she was honoured to work with the organization and to support the many things each of the UNHCR workers do on a daily basis.
“There’s a reason why I’m so proud to be with UNHCR, because the work you do, and what you do in the field, and the lives you help to save and the people you help to get through their days... makes all the difference.” She concluded by noting: “I hope I represent you as best I can in all your work.” The 41-year-old then went on to renew her agreement as a UNHCR Special Envoy, a role she’s held with the organization since 2012.
Later in the evening, Angelina gave another moving speech at the annual Sergio Vieira de Mello Memorial Lecture, an event that honours the UN diplomat who was killed while working in Iraq in 2003.
Donning a stunning blue dress, she spoke of her role as an American citizen with the resources to make the world a better place.
“I find myself looking out on a global environment that seems more troubling and uncertain than at any time in my lifetime. I imagine many of you may feel the same,” she noted. “Many of [the issues we’re seeing] are not new -- but taken together -- and in the absence of strong international leadership, they are deeply worrying.”
She then addressed her solution for tackling issues like populism, poverty and racism: “There is a stronger need than ever before for us to stay true to the ideals and purposes of the United Nations… I hope all of us can determine that we shall be a generation that renews its commitment to ‘unite our strength to maintain international peace and security,’ and ‘to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.’”
The Tomb Raider star went on to call on everyone, globally, to do good in their community and continue the progress started by Sergio and other UN workers: “To do even a little of his good, to apply ourselves to the work he left unfinished, in whatever way we can, is a worthy task for any one of us.”