In 2003, Jolie simultaneously launched “Notes from My Travels”, a collection of accounts of her field experiences in Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Pakistan, Cambodia and Ecuador, and the feature film “Beyond Borders,” which the plot reflects the real interest of the actress in promoting humanitarian aid.
Also in the same year, Jolie created the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation in Cambodia dedicated to the eradication of extreme rural poverty, protection of natural resources and conservation of nature. The Foundation also promotes sustainable rural economies by working with villagers and local governments to alleviate food security and increase access to essential health care and basic education with vocational training, infrastructure, rural planning and microcredit programs.
In 2005, Jolie launched the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children, an organization that provides free legal aid to young asylum seekers in the United States. In her opening speech, Jolie said, “A few years ago, when I was just an actress, I really didn’t feel very good about myself at all. I didn’t know what I was doing or why I was doing it, and at the end of the day was because I reallized that my life was of no use to others. I later realized that I could travel, I could witness, and I could bring attention. If you commit to this program, to do not what you have to do or what you are paid to do, but to do what you know you should do, because you believe in justice, it is the greatest contribution you can give. These children are begging for their lives. So please listen to them. ”
The program is currently owned by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants and is named Immigrant Children’s Legal Program.
In 2006, Jolie created the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict (EPCC), in partnership with Gene Sperling, founder of the Center for Universal Education, to fund education programs for children affected by conflict. Jolie and Sperling officially launched the partnership in 2007 during the Clinton Global Initiative, announcing the commitment of 19 world-renowned organizations to educate more than one million children affected by conflict in 15 countries. The commitments include support for education for refugee Iraqi children, young people affected by the genocide in Darfur, girls and boys in rural Afghanistan, among other conflict-affected groups in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. At the time, Jolie addressed: “I have traveled for more than six years with UNHCR and I had a great, great honor in spending time and getting to know refugee children, children in conflict. And they are remarkable, they are grateful, they are determined. And these are children who may be oppressed by despair or violence. Or these are children who tomorrow may become teachers, engineers, leaders of their countries, lawyers and doctors who will help rebuild their destroyed countries. And yet education is often overlooked. More than 20 million children in conflict are out of school. Nothing guarantees more freedom than education. And there is no better deterrent to a conflict than a society with education. ”
The EPCC believes that education is a vital part of the humanitarian strategy for emergencies, conflict, post-conflict and refugee situations, to end cycles of violence and build stable peaceful societies. Since its inception, it has worked with more than 30 organizations to improve access to quality education for children in conflict in more than 20 countries. On children’s education, Jolie said in 2005: “What’s interesting is that in refugee camps, children are begging to get a chance to go to school. They work a lot, they’re little adults, they go through that, and when you ask them what they want to be, ‘I want to be a doctor to help my people’, ‘I want to be an architect because I want to rebuild my country’, unfortunately, they are very focused on the needs of survival, but for this they become remarkable, strong, intelligent. If we help them, they will grow in a positive direction. ”
In 2007, Jolie released the documentary “A Place in Time,” which seeks to record the diversity of life and the communion of the human spirit through simultaneous recordings in 27 countries, including Chad, Niger, Italy, China, Jordan and Lebanon. The film highlights the idea of global community, where a problem in one place in the world is also the responsibility of all the other countries, and the importance of education for the training of future leaders aware of modern interdependence.
Also in 2007, Jolie starred in the feature film “A Mighty Heart,” adapted from the biography of journalist Mariane Pearl, which she defined as: “She is an example of someone who has suffered from the horrible side of what is happening in the world today, but she kept with a sense of ‘we have to maintain the dialogue, we have to continue to understand each other, we can not blind ourselves by hatred’.
During the launch of Global Action for Children, the organization responsible for raising funds for orphans in developing countries and of which Jolie is Honorary President, the actress spoke: “I’m here simply to ask you to think about orphan children not as a burden, but as a great opportunity, their education and their well-being is an investment in our future. When I first became involved in this issue and learned about orphans, I remember being told that the one thing they all share is a very hard beginning to their lives. They’ve known hunger, and loneliness, and death, and they have had to fight very, very hard to survive. But when they are given a chance, they grow strong, and they grow stronger than most. And I think the “Lost Boys of Sudan” (a name given to more than 20,000 boys who became internally displaced persons and/or orphans during the Second Sudanese Civil War between 1983 and 2005) are a great example. They have fought through unbelievable challenges and then with the help of many different organizations, they have excelled and today they are strong, and they represent a great hope for the future of Sudan. In my travels, I have seen two very very different scenarios for these children. Some beat the odds and despite being orphans, their extended families are able to take them in, governments or NGOs to reach out to them, they provide basic health care, education, their communities protect them from those who seek to exploit them. And somehow they make it, and in their survival they embody the best that our world can achieve. But there is another scenario, and it is much darker and it is more common. And I’m talking about the five-year-old girl who is made to beg for the adult traffic across Cambodia, the twelve-year-old boy in northern Uganda who is captured and trained as a soldier and forced to kill, an eight-year-old girl who was so hungry that she trade sex for food. These scenarios are more and more common. The growing number of orphans are growing number of abandoned youth susceptible to slavery, recruitment into terrorist activities, child trafficking, and prostitution. We shape our future by the way we raise our children. And orphan children are the world’s children. We know the price of our indifference, we know what could happen to all of these children, we know the consequences of our inaction. I’m so lucky that I have the opportunity to know many of these children and I can tell you that there is no greater joy and that they are amazing young people.”
In that same year, Jolie became a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), funding since then reports of the entity, such as “Intervention to stop mass atrocities and genocide.”
In partnership with Microsoft, the actress has launched Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a movement with law firms, companies, nongovernmental organizations, universities and volunteers that provide legal advice to unaccompanied refugees and children of immigrants in the United States. KIND serves as the primary organization in the protection of unaccompanied children entering the US immigration system and strives to ensure that no child appears in the immigration court without representation.
In April, during a US CFR forum on “Iraq, Education and Children in Conflict”, Jolie spoke: ” “It is a fact that the best way to heal children in conflict and their traumas is to focus their minds on their future and give them an education. It is also a fact that an educated population is the best guarantee for a stable and prosperous future. I’m not saying something that everybody in this room doesn’t already know. It’s common sense. And yet, education is still not a priority of the international community. Appeals are not met and some government programs still have no education mandate at all. We are here to talk about the children of Iraq. But first, I’d like to say a few words about the children in the conflict, who they are. These are children living in refugee camps, where the average length of stay is 17 years, but there are also those who do not live in the camps, as in Syria and Jordan, there are those internally displaced in their countries, as in Colombia or In Darfur, there are children who continue to live in areas of conflict, such as Congo and Iraq. We are also talking about repatriated children returning to areas that are bombed or land mines scattered around the gardens, as it was in Cambodia and is in Afghanistan. There are tens of millions of these children and I have had the privilege of meeting many of them. And they are inspiring, they are strong and I know what they could do with a great education. And I’ve also seen their lives without teaching. I have known these children who have witnessed their friends and family being killed, lost their homes and have nothing to do but sit in a camp and relive everything that has happened in their minds. The point is that every child has the right to education. And conflict is not an excuse for us to ignore that right. If anything, it is the time they need it the most. It helps them gain a sense of normalcy. Education gives them hope. It gives them confidence in the future. They feel they have a future. And these kids, they will sit under a tree, writing in the dirt because they have no pens or supplies, in a hundred degree temperature, just to hear a teacher speak. They are absolutely the most committed students in the world. And they are the future of their countries, so they are the best investment we can make. We need these kids. We, the international community, need them to grow and become doctors, lawyers, engineers and teachers because we need them to rebuild their countries, stabilize their nations and eventually lead them one day. So I ask you not to think of them as tens of thousands of needy children, but in this great force of tens of millions of strong people who, with support, will do incredible things.”
Jolie made the opening speech of World Refugee Day, with tears in her eyes when talking about the strength and endurance of the people she had met on her missions for UNHCR: “We’re here today to talk about millions of desperate families – families so cut-off from civilization that they don’t even know that a day like this exists on their behalf. Millions. And numbers can illuminate but they can also obscure. So I am here today to say that refugees are not numbers. They’re not even just refugees. They are mothers and daughters and fathers and sons – they are farmers, teachers, doctors, engineers, they are individuals all. And most of all they are survivors – each one with a remarkable story that tells of resilience in the face of great loss. They are the most impressive people I have ever met and they are also some of the world’s most vulnerable. Stripped of home and country, refugees are buffeted from every ill wind that blows across this planet. I remember meeting a pregnant Afghani woman in a completely abandoned camp in Pakistan. She couldn’t travel when everyone else was relocated because she was too late in her pregnancy. She was alone with her two children and another woman. There was nothing for miles around the camp – not a single tree, no other people in sight. So when they asked me to come in for tea I said I didn’t feel it necessary. But being Afghans, they take pride in how they treat their guests so they insisted and they guided me into a small dirt house with no roof to keep out the scorching heat, and they dusted off the two old mats that they ate, slept and prayed on. And we sat and we talked and they were just the loveliest women. And then with a few twigs and a single tin cup of water, they made the last of their tea and insisted on me to enjoy it. Since before the parable of the Widow’s Mite it has been known that those who have the least will give the most. Most refugee families will offer you the only food they have and pretend they’re not hungry. And the generosity of the poor applies not only to refugees. We should never forget that more than 80% of refugees are hosted and have been for years and years in the poorest developing countries. Pakistan, a country now facing a crisis with over two million of its own people despised is still hosting 1.7 million Afghans and has hosted millions of Afghan families for nearly thirty years. I remember before we said good-bye to the pregnant lady she pointed to a young boy. He had a dusty face, the brightest green eyes I have ever seen but such a sad look but she explained that he’s always asking for more food. And it hurts her to say that they have nothing. And she asked if we would consider taking him, would we take her sons so he could eat. And she said it with tears in her eyes with such a desperation. A desperation unimaginable to every parent in this room. A few weeks later, a war in Afghanistan began and heavy fighting started right where they were. I’ve been back to that region three times and I look for them every time. I remember in Tanzania, I met a child in a tent. He sat on the dusty floor; he’s been shot on the back and left paralyzed. And he crawled forward to shake my hand, he was no more than fifteen. He had bog pretty eyes, big wide sparkling smile, and after he’d been to, he’s full of laughter and love. Later that night I asked whether he’d not been taken to a hospital or at least given a wheelchair and I was told that the boy’s entire family had been killed so there was no one to look after him. And he’d not been accepted for asylum in a third. And the aid worker said they’d spent the money they could but they didn’t have any more. And I thought about him all night and I wondered what I should do. And then I remembered the next thing I walked through the camp and I saw more victims of war. I saw small children full of hunger and fear, crying mothers, wounded fathers, I saw a sea of humanity – all desperate, all deserving. There are hundreds of thousands in that camp and there are millions around the world. And at that time I felt hopeless and overwhelmed by the realization of the magnitude of the problem. But the later on that trip, I met an eight year old girl who had seen her family killed in front of her and she grabbed her baby brother and she ran into the jungle and survived, terrified an alone for two weeks. She managed to find bananas and feed herself and her brother. And when I met her she didn’t talk, she just walked back and forth and I kept trying to tell her how brave we thought she was. She just stared at the window. And a year later I came back to that same camp and i saw her again. She was still very shy but she was beginning to speak and she was sweet and polite but she still didn’t care about  me or visitors she just wanted to know how her brother was. He was with the doctors and she was just checking to make sure everything’s gonna be okay. She was his mother now. That little girl had a depth and a strength that I will never know. And on that trip, and many that followed I came to know refugees as not only as the most vulnerable people on earth but as the most resilient. As an American I know the strength that diversity has given my country. A country built by what now some would dismiss as asylum seekers or economic migrants. And I believe we must persuade the world that refugees must now be simply viewed as a burden. They are survivors. And they can bring those qualities to the service of their communities and the countries that shelter them. In the last nine years I have made many visits to the field with UNHCR. I do it to raise awareness for the plight of refugees but I also do it for me. The refugees I have met and spent time with have profoundly changed my life. The eight-year-old girl who saved her brother taught me what it is to be brave. The pregnant woman in Pakistan taught me what it is to be a mother. And the paralyzed boy who had been shot in the back with his big smile showed me the strength of an unbreakable spirit. So today, on world refugee day, I thank them for letting me into their lives.”
After several visits to Haiti, Jolie established the Jolie Legal Fellows Program to support the Haitian government in its efforts to strengthen its judicial system in the chaotic post-earthquake environment of January 2010. The program allocates young lawyers in the Haitian judiciary to support Government efforts to protect children.
The Jolie-Pitt Foundation has donated millions of dollars to humanitarian causes, such as Pakistani refugees affected by conflicts between government troops and Taliban militants in northwestern Pakistan and the education of Iraqi children affected by war through funding of school supplies and school reconstruction programs. Jolie also funded innovative treatment centers for children infected or affected by tuberculosis and HIV in Cambodia and Ethiopia.
In January, the Jolie Legal Fellows program announced a partnership with “Lawyers for Justice in Libya” through the Destoori Project, which aims to educate Libyan citizens about the constitutional creation process, to engage public opinion and to create a connection and a sense of property between the Libyan people and their Constitution.
In March, Angelina Jolie and William Hague, then Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom, met with survivors of rape and sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. The purpose of the trip was to highlight the appalling human cost of rape as a weapon of war in conflict zones and to draw the attention of the international community to the growing and neglected problem. The joint visit continued the work they have started in May 2012, when Jolie and Hague launched, in London, a campaign against rape and sexual violence in areas of conflict.
In April, Jolie met with the G8 foreign ministers in London and called for war crimes not to go unpunished and that their perpetrators are condemned. The chancellors agreed to make a plea to increase efforts to seek justice for victims of sexual abuse and violence, including $ 35.5 million in funding for prevention and response efforts.
“Foreign Ministers, Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen, hundreds of thousands of women and children have been sexually assaulted, tortured, or forced into sexual slavery in the wars of our generation. Time and again the world has failed to prevent this abuse, or to hold attackers accountable.
Rape has been treated as something that simply happens in war; perpetrators have learnt that they can get away with it; and victims have been denied justice. But wartime rape is not inevitable. This violence can be prevented, and it must be confronted.
There are many individuals and NGOs who have worked tirelessly to address these crimes for years. But the international political will has been sorely lacking. I have heard survivors of rape from Bosnia to the Democratic Republic of Congo say that they feel the world simply does not care about them. And who could blame them?
For too long they have been the forgotten victims of war: responsible for none of the harm, but bearing the worst of the pain. But today, I believe, their voices have been heard, and that we finally have some hope to offer them.
I welcome the long-overdue stand that the G8 has taken, and this landmark Declaration. And I want to thank the Governments of the countries that have made funding commitments today. I particularly endorse the Declaration’s strong words on rights and freedoms for women and children, and its promise to include women in peace processes and democratic transitions.
I welcome the recognition of male victims of sexual violence; and the practical action promised to help to lift the stigma from survivors and provide rehabilitation – particularly for children.
There is no choice between peace and justice: peace requires justice. So I welcome the pledge by the G8 to regard rape and sexual violence in armed conflict as grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions; and to give no amnesty to those who commit these crimes. And I fully support the work that will now begin on an International Protocol on the Investigation and Documentation of Sexual Violence in Conflict, and look forward to its adoption.
Foreign Ministers, millions of people have been waiting for the commitments you have just made, and they will be watching to see them implemented. You have promised to work together to raise awareness of sexual violence and to bring down the barriers to justice. And this significance cannot be understated.
It is also encouraging to see men in leadership positions speaking out against rape, and I hope many others will follow your example.
I pay tribute to Zainab Bangura for her courageous and wonderful work; And I want to thank William Hague for his leadership: Rape is not a women’s issue, or a humanitarian issue, it is a global issue and it belongs here at the top table of international decision-making where he has put it. So I look forward to campaigning with him at the UN, and I call on other governments to make this cause their priority. If they do, this will be the start of a new global alliance against warzone rape and sexual violence; and finally an end to impunity. Thank you.”
Also in April, Jolie founded a school for 300 girls in Afghanistan, the second one funded by her in the country (the first one was opened in 2010), and launched the “Style of Jolie” jewelry line, in which all profits will revert to the construction of new schools in poor areas and war zones.
On the occasion of World Refugee Day 2013, Jolie made the following statement:
The Syrian crisis here in Jordan and across the region is the most acute humanitarian crisis anywhere in the world today. 1.6 million people have poured out of Syria with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and more are arriving every minute. More than half are children.
They have left behind a country in which millions of people are displaced, suffering hunger, deprivation and fear; where countless women and girls have endured rape and sexual violence; where a whole generation of children are out of school; and where at least 93,000 people have been killed: the friends, neighbors, fathers, mothers and children of people in this camp today.
I want to thank the people of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey for hosting Syrian refugees in their homes and communities. Their generosity is lifesaving. But they cannot do it alone. Appeals must be met and support given. The over-burdening of these countries’ economies is the greatest risk to their stability.
I pray all parties in the Syrian conflict will stop targeting civilians and allow access for humanitarian aid. And I appeal to the world leaders – please, set aside your differences, unite to end the violence, and make diplomacy succeed. The UN Security Council must live up to its responsibilities. Every 14 seconds someone crosses Syria’s border and becomes a refugee. And by the end of this year half of Syria’s population – ten million people – will be in desperate need of food, shelter and assistance. The lives of millions of people are in your hands. You must find common ground.
On this day, World Refugee Day, I would like to say a word about the more than 15 million people who live as refugees worldwide. Refugees are often forgotten, and frequently misunderstood. They are regarded as a burden, as helpless individuals, or as people who wish to move to someone else’s country. That is not who they are.
I have met refugees around the world. They are resilient, hardworking and gracious people. They have experienced more violence and faced more fear than we will ever know. They have lost their homes, their belongings and their countries. They have often lost family and friends to horrific deaths. Faced with war and oppression they have chosen not to take up arms, but to try to find safety for their families. They deserve our respect, our acknowledgment and our support – not just today but for the duration of their ordeal.
By helping refugees, here in Zaatari camp and across the globe, we are investing in people who will one day rebuild their countries, and a more peaceful world for us all. So on this day, I honor them, and I am privileged to be with them.”
On June 24, Jolie and Hague led the campaign against rape and sexual violence in war zones to the UN Security Council (a decision-making body of 15 members – five permanent and veto-power – Russia, Great Britain, France and China – and ten non-permanent, elected by the General Assembly every two years). As UNHCR Special Envoy, Jolie criticized the SC for its neglect of the issue and evoked the conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Syria in a surprise speech before the 15 members.
Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, Foreign Ministers, it is an honor to address this Council. I thank for Secretary Hague, for his United Kingdom’s leadership and Zainab Bangura, for her important and extraordinary work.
The Security Council was established 67 years ago and has witnessed 67 years of wars and conflicts. But the world has yet to take war zone rape as a serious priority. Hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of women, children and men have been raped in conflict in our lifetime. The numbers are so vast and the subject is so painful that we often have to stop to remember that behind each number there is someone with a name, a personality, a story and dreams that are not different from ours and those from our children.
I will never forget the survivors I’ve met and what they’ve told me. The mother in Goma whose five-year-old daughter has been raped outside a police station in plein view. Or the Syrian woman I met in Jordan last week who asked to hide her face and name because she knew that if she spoke out against the crimes committed against her, she would be attacked again and possibly killed.
Rape is a tool of war. It is an act of aggression and a crime against humanity. I understand that there are many things that are difficult for the UN Security Council to agree on, but sexual violence in conflict should not be one of them.
That it is a crime to rape young children is not something that I imagine anyone in this room would not be able to agree on. The rights and wrongs in this issue are simple and the actions that need to be taken are identified. What is needed is political will and that is what is being asked of your countries today. To act on the knowledge of what is right and what is unjust and to show the determination to do something about it.