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.
I was asked to write an introduction to my journals, to explain how my journals came to be, why my life took this direction, and why I decided to start it.
As I try to find the answers, I am sure of one thing: I am forever changed. I am so grateful I took this path in my life, thankful that I met these amazing people and had this incredible experience.
I honestly believe that if we were all aware, we would all be compelled to act.
So the question is not how or why I would do this with my life. The question is, how could I not?
Many nights I sat awake reading stories and statistics about national and international tragedies.
I read about UNHCR:
• More than twenty million refugees exist today.
• One-sixth of the world's population lives on less than one dollar a day.
• 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water.
• One-third of the world has no electricity.
• More than 100 million children are out of school.
• One in six children in Africa dies before the age of five.
I read about different organizations that do humanitarian work. I had been reading about Sierra Leone when I was in England. When I got back to the States it was difficult to follow the stories, so I called USA for UNHCR and asked if they could help me understand the situation there and similar situations elsewhere in the world. Three weeks later I was in Sierra Leone.
I don't know how this will be as a book, how readers will find it. I am not a writer. These are just my journals. They are just a glimpse into a world that I am just beginning to understand, a world I could never really explain in words.
Angelina Jolie is an award-winning actress and has starred in over thirty films, including Maleficent, Girl, Interrupted, Changeling, and many more. She has directed four feature films and one documentary. She lives in Los Angeles with her children.
Jane Goodall, Ph.D., CBE Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace Angelina is living proof of the power we all have -- every one of us -- to make a difference. I was deeply moved by her descriptions of individual refugees struggling to live with dignity and hope, and found her personal commitment to be an inspiration. Angelina's journals document her awakening as a humanitarian activist and I hope they will move readers to act. I look forward to my continued work with Angelina on behalf of the United Nations.
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