Notes from My Travels : Visits with Refugees in Africa, Cambodia, Pakistan and Ecuador
Three years ago, award-winning actress Angelina Jolie took on a radically different role as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Here are her memoirs from her journeys to Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Pakistan, Cambodia, and Ecuador, where she lived and worked and gave her heart to those who suffer the world's most shattering violence and victimization. Here are her revelations of joy and warmth amid utter destitution...compelling snapshots of courageous and inspiring people for whom survival is their daily work?and candid notes from a unique pilgrimage that completely changed the actress's worldview -- and the world within herself.
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September 30, 2003
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Excerpt from Notes from My Travels by Angelina Jolie
Foreword by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established in 1951 to care for those forced to flee their homes because of persecution or war. Over the past five decades, UNHCR has helped an estimated 50 million men, women, and children to find safety and to restart their lives.
Our challenges are immense, and they could not be met without the dedicated support of concerned individuals around the world. One such champion of the refugee cause is Angelina Jolie.
On 27 August 2001, I named Angelina Jolie as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR. Some time before this, she had shown a profound interest in refugee issues, and had visited refugee camps in places like Sierra Leone, Cambodia, and Pakistan.
In 2002 and 2003, Angelina visited refugees in Namibia, Thailand, Ecuador, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Kosovo, and Ingushetia, and worked closely with UNHCR field staff. Her impressions are movingly recounted in these vivid personal journals. She will be making more field visits in the years ahead.
Since her appointment as a Goodwill Ambassador, Angelina has more than fulfilled my expectations. She has proven to be a close partner and a genuine colleague in our efforts to find solutions for the world's refugees. Above all, she has helped to make the tragedy of refugees real to everyone who will listen. Angelina's interest in helping refugees, her personal generosity, and her truly compassionate spirit are an inspiration to us all.