Angelina Jolie - The 21st Century's First Humanitarian Icon

A household name, Angelina Jolie has been a Hollywood Icon for longer than most can remember. Forging her path to fame through stellar acting performances in blockbuster films such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Maleficent. Though incredibly talented and celebrated on screen, Jolie is even better known for her humanitarian efforts across the world.

Citing her first realization of the effects of a humanitarian crisis to her experiences filming the movie Tomb Raider, Jolie dedicated herself thereafter to lend a helping hand. After returning home and contacting the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to determine troubled areas, she began visiting refugee camps around the world.

Over the next decade, Jolie went on more than 40 field missions where she ate and lived alongside the staff of the UNHCR. She has met with refugees in more than 30 countries and was named United Nations Goodwill Ambassador in 2007. Jolie also earned her pilot's license in order to personally fly food and supplies to areas that need it most around the world.

In 2003, Jolie purchased 60,000 hectares of land in Cambodia in order to preserve the wildlife which inhabited it. She named the park after her son, deeming it the Maddox Jolie Project. Jolie has also spearheaded movements confronting child education, immigration, and Women’s Rights.

Most Americans define themselves by what they do as a career. It is breathtaking to behold the accomplishments of a woman who defines herself by the good she has done for the world, despite the blinding lights of Hollywood. Jolie is a role model known for her beauty of spirit and compassion and has cemented her role as the 21st century’s first humanitarian icon.

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