Angelina Jolie gave a moving speech today at the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland, concerning the current refugee crisis we are facing in the world. Jolie was given the honorable and weighty task of delivering the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation lecture, named after a UN diplomat who was killed while on assignment in Iraq in 2003.
As a Special Envoy to the United Nations Refugee Agency, Jolie has traveled to countries around the world, visiting refugee camps and raising awareness of the growing international refugee crisis. According to the UNHCR website, “Jolie focuses on major crises that result in mass population displacements, undertaking advocacy and representing UNHCR and the High Commissioner at the diplomatic level. She also engages with decision-makers on global displacement issues. Through this work, she has helped contribute to the vital process of finding solutions for people forced to flee their homes.”
In her speech, Jolie pointed out the discrepancy between the need for monetary aid in many countries, and the lack of funding they actually receive: "There is not a single humanitarian appeal anywhere in the world that is funded by even half of what is required," she said. "Appeals for countries on the brink of famine today are 17 percent, 7 percent, 5 percent funded for example."
Jolie, clad in a smart blue dress with 3/4-length sleeves, also pointed out, however, that funds and monetary aid won't necessarily solve the problems many countries face: "They [impoverished countries] do not want to be dependent. It would be far better to invest all of our funding on infrastructure on … enterprises ... the UN can only [help make] change when the government changes their policies, and when we as citizens ask them to do that."
Earlier in the day, Jolie reaffirmed her commitment to refugees worldwide, renewing her contract with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency: “I am with you for life.” Watch the full moving speech and followed by a discussion with UN Refugees Chief Filippo Grandi and BBC’s Lyse Doucet above.