After two decades of service to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Angelina Jolie is moving on from her role as Special Envoy. In a joint statement issued on Friday, Jolie and the agency said she wanted to focus on “a broader set of humanitarian and human rights issues” and will continue to do “everything in her power” to support refugees.
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi praised Jolie’s decision, saying “I know the refugee cause will remain close to her heart, and I am certain she will bring the same passion and attention to a wider humanitarian portfolio.” Jolie was first appointed as a UNHCR goodwill ambassador in 2001 and was made Special Envoy in 2012. She has carried out more than 60 field missions to bear witness to stories of suffering as well as hope and resilience.
In a recent opinion piece for The Guardian, Jolie wrote about her frustration with the lack of global progress in ending sexual violence in conflict, and called out U.N. Security Council members for “abusing their veto power.” She also noted her desire to draw attention to the plight of refugees and direct young people’s attention to the cause.
The UNHCR declined to offer more details on Jolie’s departure, including whether they would appoint another Special Envoy to replace her. However, it is clear that Jolie has made a lasting impression and commitment to this cause, and she will continue to support refugees and other displaced people in the years to come.