Angelina Jolie Seeking Greater Role With United Nations

Tuesday, Oct 4, 2011  |  Updated 12:22 PM CDT
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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - OCTOBER 03: UNHCR, Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie presents the 2011 Nansen Refugee Award at a ceremony on October 3, 2011 in Geneva, Switzerland. The prize was awarded to the founder and 290 staff of SHS, a non-governmental organization, for their life-saving work in helping the thousands of refugees and migrants who arrive on Yemen's shores each year.

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After a decade serving as a United Nations goodwill ambassador, Angelina Jolie says she's talking with the agency about doing more.

Jolie spoke while making an appearance at the U.N.'s Geneva headquarters, where she she was highlighting refugee issues around the world.

Jolie, who started working in 2001 with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said on Tuesday that her time with the UNHCR has been "moving, sometimes heartbreaking, but always rewarding, and unforgettable."

"They are the most vulnerable people in the world, and they are also the most resilient people in the world," said Jolie. "Refugees are survivors, they are mothers and daughters and fathers and sons, they are all extraordinary people who have a remarkable story that tells of strength in the face of great loss... They need our help more than ever."

Jolie also talked about her concern that recent financial trouble would put the breaks on donations to U.N. missions in the neediest parts of the world. With Democrats and Republicans seemingly in agreement about enacting the State Department's first cuts in foreign aid in 20 years, Jolie's worry is well founded.

It was while working in Cambodia, shooting "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," that Jolie first became aware of the plight of refugees around the world, and reached out to the U.N. for more information, and was soon off on her first mission, visiting Sierra Leone and Tanzania.

What exactly her new duties might be are unclear, as she and the U.N. are still working out the details. 

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