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



Goodwill Ambassador Yao ChenWhile mostly unknown to American audiences, Chinese actress, activist, and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador Yao Chen is one of the most influential celebrities in China and arguably in the world. Her Goodwill Ambassadorship was recently renewed for her tireless efforts on behalf of displaced persons.

The daughter of a train driver and a postal worker, Yao Chen rose to prominence as one of China’s greatest contemporary actresses, with roles ranging from action flicks to rom-coms. Her popularity extends to social media, specifically Weibo (the Chinese version of Twitter) where she has more followers than the population of the United Kingdom.

Chen began working with the UNHCR in 2010 before officially becoming Goodwill Ambassador Yao Chen in 2013. She joined the UNHCR on multiple field visits to refugee host nations, including the Philippines, Thailand, Ethiopia, Lebanon and Pakistan. In these visits, she has met with refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and Myanmar.

“I am deeply touched by how refugees keep their dignity and how poverty does not destroy their kindness.” Chen said.

As the first Chinese UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Chen used her influence by bringing attention to refugee issues to the Chinese-speaking world.

And she has had impressive results. Between 2012 and 2013, the number of donations to UNHCR from mainland China tripled.

Goodwill Ambassador Yao Chen earned international acclaim for her work on behalf of refugees and for her efforts addressing domestic issues in China.

Forbes magazine deemed the 37-year-old actress “China’s Angelina Jolie” and placed her on their list of the world’s most powerful women. She was also one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi renewed Chen’s ambassadorship for two more years during his inaugural visit to China. Grandi discussed China’s ability to assist displaced persons through South-South Cooperation, a collaborative action among countries of the South. He also spoke about the Chinese government’s “One Belt One Road” Initiative, a controversial $5 trillion spending plan in infrastructure across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

In the next two years, Goodwill Ambassador Yao Chen will continue advocating for refugees by highlighting issues they face and making their plight seem less distant to the Chinese people. In Chen’s own words, “In this global village, we are all connected and inter-dependent in one way or another.”

(Here is another reason to love Yao Chen. Her nickname for her son is Xiao Tudou, which translates to “little potato.”)

Sean Newhouse

Photo: Google

What do Selena Gomez, Sarah Jessica Parker and David Beckham have in common? They are all Celebrity Goodwill Ambassadors for UNICEF.

Founded in 1946 by the United Nations and made a permanent organization of the United Nations in 1953, the United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, works to ensure the rights of children. According to the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, children have rights to education, protection, health care, shelter and good nutrition. In the poorest regions of the world, children may be denied these rights because of a lack of access to resources, goods and services.

UNICEF has celebrity ambassadors and supporters in countries around the globe. The ambassadors help to raise awareness of global children’s needs, advocate to world leaders for children’s rights and set an example as globally aware citizens. There are three types of Goodwill Ambassadors and Advocates: international, regional and national. These advocates raise awareness internationally, regionally or nationally, with respect to their position.

The Celebrity Goodwill Ambassador program began in 1954 with its first ambassador, the famous entertainer on the screen and on Broadway, Danny Kaye. Following Kaye were other notable performers, actors, singers, athletes and celebrities. One such actor was Audrey Hepburn, who became a Goodwill Ambassador in 1989. In her time as an ambassador, Hepburn traveled to Turkey, Venezuela, Sudan and many other places, advocating for the rights of children.

Currently, there are over 20 international ambassadors, some of which include:

-Katy Perry: She was appointed to Goodwill Ambassador in 2013. Prior to this appointment, Perry had already visited Madagascar with UNICEF, and UNICEF used her song “Roar” in a public service announcement to help inspire girls.

-Liam Neeson: He became a Goodwilll Ambassador in 2011. Famous for his acting on Broadway and in feature films, such as Taken, which discusses trafficking in children and sexual exploitation, Neeson uses his fame to raise awareness of UNICEF’s causes, such as HIV and AIDS programs in Africa.

-David Beckham: Famous for his soccer skills on Manchester United, he used his interest in sports when he became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2005, focusing on UNICEF’s Sports Development program. Since then, he traveled with UNICEF to places including Sierra Leone and the Philippines. In 2015, he started 7:The David Beckham UNICEF Fund, which furthers UNICEF’s mission to protect children’s rights.

These celebrities are making a lasting change in the fight for children’s rights and programs dealing with the results of poverty. With new advocates and ambassadors every year, it seems UNICEF will be able to positively change the lives of children for another 62 years and counting.

Rachelle Kredentser

Sources: UNICEF 1, UNICEF 2, Look to the Stars 1, Look to the Stars 2, UNICEF 3, UNICEF 4, UNICEF 5, UNICEF 6, IMBD
Photo: Daily News

angelina jolie
Often hailed as the most beautiful woman alive, the recipient of two Oscars and three Golden Globe awards, and appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR (The United Nations Refuge Agency), Angelina Jolie has proved that her legendary beauty radiates from the inside out.

The advent of Jolie’s personal involvement with humanitarian work occurred after encountering poverty first-hand while filming on location in Cambodia for Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. The actress, heavily-moved by the depravity she had witnessed, turned to the UNHCR in order to help resolve or mediate conditions for refugees worldwide.

Since her initial encounter with poverty in 2001, Jolie has attended international missions to turbulent countries such as Tanzania, Cambodia, Syria, and Iraq. While on mission trips, rather than arranging for lavish living conditions, the actress endures the same living conditions as the other members of UNHCR. Overall, the actress has joined humanitarian forces in more than 20 countries.

In addition to attending field missions, Jolie has also given significant donations towards international relief efforts. For instance, during her first pregnancy, Jolie struck a deal with People Magazine in which the publication was given permission to print the first pictures of her pregnant figure on the condition that a $500,000 donation be given to the Yele Haiti Foundation established by musician Wyclef Jean.

Furthermore, the actress has also established her own foundation, the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, to eliminate global poverty and improve living conditions for those affected by poverty. To kick-start her foundation, Jolie donated $1 million to the Doctors without Borders organization in 2006. Additionally, according to tax records from that same year, Jolie and her husband bestowed $8 million dollars to charities.

Jolie’s humanitarian efforts have not gone unnoticed. The actress was awarded the Global Humanitarian Award by the United Nations in 2005, and was bequeathed with the John Hersholt Humanitarian Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Governors Awards in 2013. Known for her beauty, her acting talent, and her benevolence, Angelina Jolie has truly used her distinguished success for the betterment of the global community.

Phoebe Pradhan

Sources: UNHCR, Ace Showbiz, Look to the Stars

Successful actress and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Special Envoy Angelina Jolie was awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ annual Governors Awards in Hollywood on November 16, 2013.

The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award was created for the Danish actor, who worked tirelessly in many philanthropic capacities in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Notably, he served as President of the Motion Picture Relief Fund.

Jolie was appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the UNHCR in 2001, and has worked extensively with the refugees, forcibly displaced, and victims of sexual abuse and violence. In 2012, UNHCR Chief Antonio Guterres named Jolie UNHCR Special Envoy. From there, Jolie took on more responsibility, becoming an advocate focusing on emergencies with complicated implications, such as the Syria Crisis.

At the Governor’s Awards, Jolie was both humbled and grateful for the award. Guterres commended her for her dedication and direct support she has provided for countless individuals. He pointed out Jolie’s visiting more than 40 nations in crisis. He said, “Angelina works tirelessly for refugees. I have seen how much they inspire her as she listens to them for hours on end. Together, we have focused our efforts on very complex refugee situations, most recently the Syria crisis.”

Jolie responded emotionally, and compassionately referred to those she had supported, “I have never understood why people are lucky enough to be born with the chances I had and why across the world there is a woman just like me with the same abilities, same desires, same work ethics and love for her family who would most likely make better films and better speeches, only she sits in a refugee camp and she has no voice. She worries about what her children will eat, how to keep them safe and if they will ever be allowed to return home. “I don’t know why this is my life and not hers, but I will do as my mother asked me to do, the best as I can and be of use to others.”

In an effort to widen her advocacy efforts, Jolie founded the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children, which she funds. She also co-created Kids in Need of Defense, Jolie Legal Fellows Program, Education Partnership for Children in Conflict, and the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation.

Let Jolie be the kind of role model for future generations. She has utilized her celebrity to save lives, and make the world a better place. She is a go-getter on so many levels, and cares about the people of the world, and works hard to ensure their basic human rights.

– Laura Reinacher

Sources: Las Vegas Guardian Express, UNHCR, USA Today