Angelina Jolie was one of the main speakers at the World Refugee Day conference at the National Geographic Museum in Washington D.C. yesterday (June 18).
An excerpt from her speech:
“I know the strength that diversity has given my country – a country built by what some would now dismiss as asylum-seekers and economic migrants – and I believe we must persuade the world that refugees must not be simply viewed as a burden. They are the survivors. And they can bring those qualities to the service of their communities and the countries that shelter them."
Since her first field visit, an 18-day mission to Sierra Leone and Tanzania, Jolie has been on field missions around the world and met with refugees and internally displaced persons in more than 20 countries. She insisted on covering all costs related to her missions and shared the same rudimentary working and living conditions as UNHCR field staff on all of her visits and has donated generously to refugee- and child protection-related causes. The Jolie-Pitt Foundation has funded a children's center in Cambodia and is currently funding an AIDS and Tuberculosis treatment center in Ethiopia. Jolie also co-chairs the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, founded at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2006, which helps fund education programs for children affected by conflict. Privately, Jolie has co-founded KIND, Kids in Need of Defense, to "provide legal representation for 100 per cent of unaccompanied children,"many of whom are victims of sex trafficking.