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women for bees programAngelina Jolie is widely considered one of the film industry’s most successful and famous stars. In 2020, she was the second-highest-paid Hollywood actress, earning more than $35 million for her work in films such as Marvel Studio’s “Eternals.” Additionally, Jolie’s humanitarian work has received a lot of attention, partnering with the U.N. Refugee Agency and launching the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative. She built her reputation as an advocate for global human rights and women empowerment. Recently, the actress joined forces with UNESCO and French perfume company Guerlain to jumpstart the Women for Bees program.

Women for Bees Program

Beginning on June 21, 2021, the global “female beekeeping entrepreneurship” program will send 10 women each year “to a 30-day accelerated training course” in beekeeping at the Observatoire Français d’Apidologie’s (OFA) Domaine de la Sainte-Baume in Provence, France. After five years, the 50 total course participants will have gained a solid foundation of beekeeping skills.

Participants will also form a strong global network of fellow female beekeepers. Furthermore, participants will all be able to run their own professional apiaries, bringing in an income to sustain themselves for years to come. Jolie was appointed “godmother” of the Women for Bees program and will track the progress of the beekeepers. The collaboration between UNESCO, Guerlain and Jolie aims to promote biodiversity and support bees’ crucial role as pollinators while simultaneously empowering women in female entrepreneurship. According to UNESCO, the program “aims to enable women’s social emancipation through an expertise-driven sustainable professional activity.”

As the female participants progress through the Women for Bees program, they will be able to gain critical skills for long-term economic enhancement for both themselves and their larger communities. The initiative will involve UNESCO’s biosphere reserves located in areas such as Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, France, Italy, Russia, Rwanda and Slovenia. About 2,500 hives are set to be built within 25 UNESCO biosphere reserves in the next four years.

World Bee Day

On World Bee Day, Jolie generated buzz for the Women for Bees program by partaking in a National Geographic photoshoot with bees roaming her face. Dan Winters took the portraits as a photographer and amateur beekeeper himself. The photos aim to raise awareness of the importance of bees and the ability of the beekeeping industry to contribute to economic growth. During her interview with National Geographic, Jolie spoke about the connection between saving bees and supporting women’s entrepreneurship. Jolie explains that pollinating insects are “an indispensable pillar of our food supply.” Therefore, bees contribute to global food security. The Women for Bees program protects bees while “empowering women in their livelihoods.”

Jolie’s collaboration with the Women for Bees program is a strong example of a celebrity utilizing their social influence to promote social good. Her efforts with the Women for Bees program are sure to help the environment, global food security and the livelihoods of the many women involved.

– Nina Lehr
Photo: Unsplash

Angelina Jolie
Unlike her character as a bad girl in Tomb Raider or as a vengeful Maleficent, Angelina Jolie has a soft spot when it involves philanthropy work. The American actress has a long record of helping communities globally. Although a mother of six, Jolie pauses her mom duties to find time to visit developing countries, improve the lives of refugees, get involved with charitable work, create foundations and fund schools in other countries. She is a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and is serving as the co-chair of the Educational Partnership for Children of Conflict.

Angelina Jolie, Goodwill Ambassador

Jolie uses her role as a Goodwill Ambassador to advocate for those who are no longer safe in their home countries. Most recently, Jolie has traveled to Peru and Colombia to visit Venezuelan refugees. During her trip to Peru, she spent two days in Lima at the border where massive groups of refugees enter daily. She spoke with a few refugees to hear stories of what their lives were like before migrating in hopes of a better life and freedom.

Crisis in Venezuela

Nearly 1.3 million Venezuelans are living in Columbia, and Jolie made it her mission to visit a few of them during her trip there. Jolie met with Colombian President Ivan Duque to express concern over the 20,000 Venezuelan children who are at risk of being without basic citizenship. They discussed how children can become nationalized and the importance of international support.

In a statement given at the press conference at the Integrated Assistance Centre, Jolie expresses how serious the influx of refugees affects not only the refugees themselves, but the countries they settle in.“The countries receiving them, like Colombia, are trying to manage an unmanageable situation with insufficient resources,” Jolie said. “This is a life and death situation for millions of Venezuelans. But UNHCR has received only a fraction of the funds it needs, to do even the bare minimum to help them survive.”

Rhoyinga Refugees

In February 2019, Jolie visited Bangladesh for three days to provide help for over 700,000 Rhoyinga refugees who have settled in the country. Jolie expressed concern over the challenges Bangladesh may face as a host country to a great number of refugees. Jolie was especially focused on making sure the refugees were comfortable and content after being forced to leave their home country, Myanmar. “I am here to see what more can be done to ensure Rohingya children can gain an education with recognized qualifications that they need to retain a clear vision for their futures, and, when conditions allow, rebuild their communities in Myanmar,” Jolie said. While there, she also created a new appeal of almost $1 billion dollars to support the rise of refugees.

Angelina Jolie’s fight to improve the lives of refugees dates back to 2002, a year after receiving the role as Goodwill Ambassador for UNHC for Refugees. Her consistent commitment to those who are displaced by force shows she is someone who genuinely cares for the lives of those who are struggling. Angelina Jolie is a prime example of someone using your voice and resources to help those who are in need.

– Jessica Curney

Photo: UNHCR

 

 

Angelina Jolie and Daughter Shiloh Visit Turkey for World Refugee Day

According to the U.N. Refugee Agency, Turkey is the top refugee-hosting country in the world, with just under two million asylum seekers. A vast majority of the refugees are Syrians, Kurds and Iraqis fleeing the violence of the Syrian Civil War and the ongoing crisis involving the Islamic State. In an effort to bring awareness to one of the largest refugee crises in history, Angelina Jolie embarked on a U.N. tour of the affected region. The movie star and long-time humanitarian was joined by her daughter, Shiloh, and stopped at the Midyat Refugee Camp in Turkey on June 20th to commemorate World Refugee Day. Jolie was also accompanied by U.N. Special Envoy Antonio Guterres. The group met with Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to discuss the challenges that Turkey faces given an unprecedented number of refugees.

Jolie issued a statement at the camp in which she calls on the world to act. She said, “we are here for a simple reason: This region is at the epicenter of a global crisis. Nearly 60 million people are displaced from their homes. That is one in every 122 people on our planet. Our world has never been richer or healthier or more advanced. Yet never before have so many people been dispossessed and stripped of their basic human rights.”

Later in her speech, Jolie stressed the impact that refugee camps have on the people that house them. While providing more security than war torn cities and villages, the camps more often than not make the poor even worse off. Jolie mentioned “Familes like the six young people I met yesterday, living in Lebanon without parents, on half food rations and paying $100 a month to live in a tent because UNHCR does not have the funds or capability to take full care of everyone.” Already with limited resources, and away from home, refugees have the burden of coming up with funds to keep their temporary shelter even though, as refugees, they “cannot legally work in their host countries.”

There is hope, however. Jolie made her speech on a key day, one dedicated to bringing light to the very issues at the core of her delivery. Her celebrity status will ensure that more people listen to her message, and in turn act to help. Jolie and other media figure have even inspired governments to act. Jolie thanked the governments of Turkey and other refugee-hosting nations for taking in millions who are fleeing. To finish, the actress wished all the families she spoke to, and by extension the refugee families across the globe, a good Ramadan with “Ramadan Kareem.”

Joe Kitaj

Sources: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, US Magazine
Photo: People

Angelina-Jolie-and-Shiloh-World-Refugee-Day
According to the UN Refugee Agency, Turkey is the top refugee-hosting country in the world with just under 2 million asylum seekers. A vast majority of the refugees are Syrians, Kurds and Iraqis fleeing the violence of the Syrian Civil War and ongoing crisis involving the Islamic State.

In an effort to bring awareness to one of the largest refugee crises in history, Angelina Jolie embarked on a UN tour of the affected region. The movie star and long-time humanitarian was joined by her daughter, Shiloh, and stopped at the Midyat Refugee Camp in Turkey on June 20th to commemorate World Refugee Day. Jolie was also accompanied by UN Special Envoy Antonio Guterres. The group met with Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to discuss the challenges that Turkey faces given an unprecedented number of refugees.

Jolie issued a statement at the camp in which she calls on the world to act. She said, “We are here for a simple reason: This region is at the epicenter of a global crisis. Nearly 60 million people are displaced from their homes. That is one in every 122 people on our planet. Our world has never been richer or healthier or more advanced. Yet never before have so many people been dispossessed and stripped of their basic human rights.”

Later in her speech Jolie stressed the impact that refugee camps have on the people that house them. While providing more security than war torn cities and villages, the camps more often than not make the poor even worse off. Jolie stated, “Families like the six young people I met yesterday, living in Lebanon without parents, on half food rations and paying US$100 a month to live in a tent because UNHCR does not have the funds or capability to take full care of everyone.” Already with limited resources and away from home, refugees have the burden of coming up with funds to keep their temporary shelter even though, as refugees, they “cannot legally work in their host-countries.”

There is hope, however. Jolie made her speech on a key day, a day dedicated to bringing light to the very issues at the core of her delivery. Her celebrity status will ensure that more people listen to her message, and in turn act to help. Jolie and other media figures have even inspired governments to act. Jolie thanked the governments of Turkey and other refugee hosting nations for taking in millions. To finish, the actress wished all the families she spoke to, and by extension the refugee families across the globe, a good Ramadan with “Ramadan Kareem.”

Joe Kitaj

Sources: UNHCR, US Magazine
Photo: Women’s Day

Angelina Jolie UNHCRAngelina Jolie is invested in refugee issues, and has been involved with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, also known as UNHCR, since 2000. Her interest and activism in humanitarian affairs began in 2000 when she visited Cambodia to shoot her film “Tomb Raider.” Her dedication to displaced persons, refugees and humanitarian assistance has generated substantial domestic and international attention.

In 2001, she was named a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, as she conducted forty field missions to some of the most remote areas of the world. In April 2012, she was appointed as Special Envoy of UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. According to UNHCR, “In her new and expanded role, she will be focusing on major crises resulting in mass population displacements; undertaking advocacy and representing UNHCR and Guterres at the diplomatic level; and engaging with decision-makers on global displacement issues. Through this work, she will help contribute to the vital process of finding solutions for people displaced by conflict.” Her first mission as Special Envoy was in Ecuador in 2012.

Jolie’s contributions to UNHCR have been tremendous. Not only does she advocate on the behalf of refugees, engage with diplomacy and activities relating to global displacement issues and inspire others, she has also donated over five million dollars to UNHCR since 2001. Jolie continues to bear witness to and support disaster relief, vulnerable children, environmental conservation and international law and justice efforts.

In 2003, she started the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation, which has contributed funds to Namibia, Ethiopia and Cambodia. This foundation includes microcredit programs, rural planning, health care, agriculture, education and infrastructure. She also launched the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children, co-chairs the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, became a member of the influential Council on Foreign Relations and continues to be active in the international community and zones of conflict and instability.

In January 2015, Jolie visited Dohuk, Iraq in pursuits of ending suffering in the region. She met with Syrian refugees and Iraqi citizens of the Kurdistan region, investigating the current humanitarian situation. She reported, “As the conflict in Syria approaches its fifth year, the war in Syria is at the root of so many of the problems faced here in Iraq and across the region. There is an urgent need for international leadership to break the cycle of violence in Syria, and to find a way forward towards a just and sustainable peace agreement.” Her dedication to the cause of refugees, displacement and humanitarianism is indispensable.

Jolie has been recognized for her effective efforts. She was the first recipient of the Citizen of the World Award in 2003, followed by the Global Humanitarian Award in 2005 for her work with refugees. Her efforts were further recognized in 2007, when the International Rescue Committee awarded the Freedom Award to Jolie and High Commissioner Guterres for their contributions to the cause of refugees and human freedom.

Neti Gupta

Sources: UNHCR 1, UNHCR 2, USA for UNHCR
Photo: Flickr

sexual_violence_in_conflict

At the first ever Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, attended by over 900 experts, faith leaders, international organizations and survivors from more than 100 countries, sexual violence in conflict was addressed as a serious war crime.

Held in London and co-chaired by British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees Angelina Jolie, the Summit built off the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, which was endorsed by two-thirds of the U.N. member states in September 2013.

The Summit aimed to end the culture of impunity and address the serious ramifications of sexual violence on a population. A new International Protocol was put forward to strengthen prosecutions for those who commit acts of sexual violence during war. The protocol also creates guidelines to train peacekeepers and soldiers who work in conflict zones to be better equipped to handle populations who are at risk for sexual violence.

Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking on the final day of the Summit, drew lessons from history to encourage the possibility of ending this type of violence in conflict. Advocating for a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual violence, ending impunity and providing more support for survivors, he stated, “we can establish new norms that respect women, girls, men and boys. And we can hold those who commit these acts and those who condone them – we can hold them all accountable.”

One important factor in addressing sexual violence in conflict is poverty. Many conflict zones today where sexual violence is most rampant are in countries with high levels of poverty, which affects women in particular. Women who have to walk home alone late at night, whose only access to a bathroom is outside of their home or who must walk long distances to collect firewood are vulnerable to attacks, both during times of peace and especially during times of conflict.

Countries that lack strong justice systems and where women, girls and men do not have access to strong education systems or who are not major players in economic activity are left vulnerable to these types of acts of violence, with no or little support after the conflict ends.

The Summit was an important step in beginning to address the issue and provide resources to women and men who are affected by sexual violence in conflict. As Secretary Kerry stated: “Acts of sexual violence demean our collective humanity.”

Therefore, ending impunity, providing resources for victims and eradicating poverty are all measures that will help end the practice of sexual violence as a tactic of war. Working to achieve environments where women and men are economically empowered, are able to receive an education and are more secure in their everyday activities are important factors that will contribute to a decrease in instances of sexual violence in conflict.

— Andrea Blinkorn

Sources: Gov.uk 1, Gov.uk 2, US Embassy, The Guardian, All Africa
Photo: Reuters

Stopping Sexual Violence in Conflict
Hosted by the British government, the four-day Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict has begun in London. The event is the biggest of its kind, with representatives from more than 100 countries as well as hundreds of experts, survivors, faith leaders and staff from NGOs and international organizations.

UNICEF has reported that over 150 million young girls and 73 million boys face sexual violence every year. Those living in nations devastated by conflict are especially vulnerable. Forty percent of Congolese women have been subjected to some form of sexual violence during their lives.

In South Sudan, rape has been used as a weapon by both sides of the recent conflict. An estimated 250,000 to 500,000 women were raped during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Approximately 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the early 1990s. However, very few perpetrators are ever prosecuted or convicted for their actions. Around the world, there is a culture of silence and denial that contributes to continued war zone rape and allows rapists to avoid the consequences.

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, who serves as a special envoy for the United Nations, co-chaired the summit with Foreign Secretary William Hague of the United Kingdom. Jolie urged the international community to focus on efforts to hold the perpetrators of sexual violence accountable. “They feel above the law because the law rarely touches them and society tolerates them… we must send a message around the world that there is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence – that the shame is on the aggressor.”

The organizers of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict have four major goals: ending the “culture of impunity” by developing and reaching a consensus on an international protocol for documenting and investigating sexual violence in war and conflict zones, training soldiers and peacekeepers to protect women from rape, expanding support for victims, survivors and human rights activists and reaching a “seismic shift” in the global attitude toward sexual violence so that the issue is recognized and addressed on a large scale. To inspire people around the world to recognize its damaging effects on international peace and security, Hague announced a pledge of $10 million from the government of the United Kingdom to help support rape survivors in conflict zones.

David Bull, Executive Director of UNICEF UK, has stated that the summit marks a “watershed in the global fight against the horrors of sexual violence in conflict.” Other key international leaders and activist groups have joined the effort to raise awareness of the abuse of women and children in war, but practical follow-up action is crucial to make a real difference. More nations should devise concrete plans to address the issue of sexual violence, challenge impunity and support the survivors.

As Jolie stated, “it is a myth that rape is an inevitable part of conflict. There’s nothing inevitable about it. It is a weapon of war aimed at civilians. It has nothing to do with sex, everything to do with power.”

— Kristy Liao

Sources: CNN, Lowy Institute for International Policy, United Nations, UNICEF
Photo: Stewardship Report

Protecting Women's Rights
“Enough is enough” is the sentiment of many regarding violence against women worldwide. Due to the multitude of instances in just the past few weeks, people are finally concluding that better legislation must be made for protecting women’s rights, preventing violence and serving appropriate punishments.

The World Health Organization has acknowledged the violence as an epidemic and has said that one in three women will be the victim of physical or sexual violence, most frequently from her male partner.

From the United States, to India, to Ecuador and many places in between, people are beginning to express their concerns with the way women are being treated. Protests are being held, movements are being led and events are being created to bring awareness to the problem’s severity.

“People are beginning to make the connection between the violence and how women are treated on a day-to-day basis,” Liesl Gerntholtz, Executive Director of the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, said.

In December of 2013, a gang rape in India led to the death of a 23-year-old female student. The woman’s community and other Indian citizens have used this incident as a springboard for bringing about change in the way women are treated and how perpetrators are punished. Since the event, the Indian government has doubled prison terms for rape and criminalized voyeurism, stalking, acid attacks and the trafficking of women.

In the United States, campaigns against sexual violence in colleges and universities are aiming to increase awareness. For the first time ever, the Department of Education released a list of schools nationwide that are under investigation for their instances of sexual violence and their tactics for handling the situation.

“The violence has been happening forever – it’s not anything new,” Serra Sippel, President of the Washington-based Center for Health and Gender Equity said. “What’s new is that people in the United States and globally are coming around to say ‘enough is enough,’ and starting to hold governments and institutional leaders accountable.”

A notable upcoming event to raise awareness of the problems related to violence against women is The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. This event will be in London June 10 – 13. It will be hosted by Foreign Secretary William Hague and Angelina Jolie, special envoy for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

The summit aims to draw attention to four main goals that will drastically change the way women are treated. The first is to improve documentation of sexual violence in conflict. The second involves providing better support and assistance to survivors of sexual violence. The third goal is to ensure that gender-based violence and equality issues are addressed in peace and security negotiations. Lastly, the summit hopes to increase international cooperation to allow for peaceful discussions about issues regarding protecting women’s rights.

The conference will incorporate many other factors, including the launch of the new International Protocol on the Investigation and Documentation of Sexual Violence in Conflict. This procedure will ensure that all instances of sexual violence are being documented correctly.

Attendees of the event will include any government that has signed the U.N. Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict as well as various representatives from organizations, NGOs and civil societies. The summit will be the largest gathering thus far to discuss this subject.

– Hannah Cleveland

 

Sources: AOL, Gov. UK
Photo: Flickr

Top Humanitarian Quotes
It’s important that we remember and memorialize the great humanitarians that have left their marks. Here are some great humanitarian quotes: 

  • “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity, it is an act of justice.” – Nelson Mandela
  • “Do your little bit of good where you are.  It’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu
  • “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “I think we all want justice and equality, a chance for a life with meaning. All of us would like to believe that if we were in a bad situation, someone would help us.” – Angelina Jolie
  • “True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.  It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” – Arthur Ashe
  • “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” – Bill Gates
  • “Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back. – Princess Diana
  • Don’t look for big things, just do small things with great love….The smaller the thing, the greater must be our love.” – Mother Teresa
  • “Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
  • “Therefore I feel that the aforementioned guiding principle must be modified to read: If you desire peace, cultivate justice, but at the same time cultivate the fields to produce more bread; otherwise there will be no peace.” – Norman Borlaug

These humanitarian quotes will hopefully inspire you to become a more active member of society while always staying mindful of those less fortunate. If each of us plays our part, our journey toward harmonious peace will be accelerated.

– Sunny Bhatt

Sources: Brainy Quote, Brainy Quote The Givers
Photo: ZA News Network

hollywood
Money is not the only way to contribute to charities, although it is arguably the most effective – unless you are a celebrity. Apparently just being associated with a charity is enough to boost donations by $100,000 per year. Research from the Rutgers’s Business School found charities with celebrity endorsements received a 1.4 percent increase in donations over charities that were not associated with stars.

In that respect, the popular celebrity news website, The Daily Beast, found out who the most charitable celebrities were in regards to lending out their name and fame. Using an in depth survey with forty-eight characteristics via E-poll market research, a list was created with the top celebrities in the charitable running. The list was narrowed after secondary research on www.looktothestars.org, a site that tracks how many charities celebrities are actually supporting. Using Traackr to record the number of actual hits on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and personal blogs, the list was further weighted to reflect the celebrities’ personal effort put into promoting their respective organizations.

Elton John was at the top of the list with support towards a whopping forty-eight charities. Furthermore, his foundation to help treat AIDS victims, Elton John Aids Foundation, is one of his personally founded charities. Though it may be due to the passing of many of Elton’s close friends of because of AIDS/HIV, he hosts enormous galas open to his multitude of famous friends as fundraisers for his organization.

Second on the list is Angelina Jolie, recognized worldwide for her long list of humanitarian efforts. She has visited various nations such as Tanzania, Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, Egypt and Costa Rica, even during times of conflict and war. Taking a hands on approach, she has provided care and aid to refugees in the aftermath of natural disasters, apartheid, oppression and more. She is the founder of the Maddox Jolie-Pitt, named after her first adopted Cambodian son, an organization which serves to implement sustainable community improvement policies for women and children in Cambodia. Angelina and Brad Pitt sold the first images of their newborn twins to People and Hello! Magazines for $14 million, utilizing the entire sum of money for the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation.

Following Angelina on the top 25 list is Bono, the incredible U2 front man, Oprah Winfrey and Ellen Degeneres. Some of the most famous stars on television and film are giving huge chunks of their success away to help others, thus becoming role models in the world of charity and fundraising. It is simultaneously inspiring and humbling to recognize that people have the ability to help those in need no matter how famous, wealthy or well off we are in their own lives. Celebrities have a name and a face but their actions are worth so much more than that, and anyone can take action against global poverty.

Kaitlin Sutherby

Sources: Marie Claire, The Daily Beast, Look to the Stars
Photo: Giphy.com