We all know Angelina Jolie as an actress, or the woman on the red carpet with her dress slit up to the hip bone, or the “bad girl” of Hollywood, at least until she seemed to settle down with Brad Pitt. Perhaps we remember her as “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” (2001) or “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life” (2003). Although she made better movies, these two are the ones that made her reputation as both a talented actress and a classic beauty, despite the fact that she had previously won several awards, including two Emmys and two Golden Globes.
While filming the first Lara Croft movie in Cambodia, Jolie became aware of the scope of worldwide suffering from political repression, poverty, famine, and disease. She contacted the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) when the filming was completed and arranged her first humanitarian field trip to Sierra Leone and Tanzania. These were only two of the Third World countries that she visited during the year. While in the field, she lived in rudimentary conditions with members of the UNHCR, and covered all of her own expenses, which include trips to more than 30 countries since she became involved in global conditions.
Jolie did not shy away from danger on these missions. She was in Darfur during the conflict of 2004; Pakistan, after the earthquake in 2005; Chad during the civil war of 2007, Iraq in 2007 and again in 2009, Afghanistan in 2008 and 2011, and Libya during the 2011 revolution. In all cases, she traveled as Goodwill Ambassador for the UNHCR. In recognition of her selfless contributions, she was promoted to Special Envoy of High Commissioner Antonio Guterres on April 17, 2012.
While in Cambodia, Jolie visited an orphanage where she witnessed the deplorable conditions under which children lived — from newly born babes to young teens. On March 10, 2002, she adopted a 7-month-old child from the facility, whom she named Maddox Chivan. Four years later, she established the Maddox Chivan Children’s Center, a facility for children of parents who had HIV in Phnom Penh, Cambodia...