Angelina Jolie announced Friday that she is stepping down from her role as the UNHCR’s special envoy after more than 20 years of working with the United Nations’ refugee agency.
The Hollywood actress, 47, has carried out more than 60 field missions with UNHCR, shining a spotlight on the plight of millions of people displaced from their homes over the past two decades.
“After 20 years working within the UN system I feel it is time for me to work differently, engaging directly with refugees and local organisations, and supporting their advocacy for solutions,” Jolie said in a statement.
“I will continue to do everything in my power in the years to come to support refugees and other displaced people.”
UNHCR called her one of the most influential proponents of refugee rights.
The Oscar-winning US star has worked with UNHCR since 2001 and became a special envoy in 2012.
In this expanded role, she built awareness and support for refugees and called for urgent solutions for people forced to flee, UNHCR said.
Jolie has “worked tirelessly… to bear witness to stories of suffering as well as hope and resilience”, the Geneva-based agency said.
Most recently, she travelled with UNHCR to Yemen and Burkina Faso to meet displaced people enduring two of the most underfunded emergencies in the world.
“We are grateful for her decades of service, her commitment, and the difference she has made for refugees and people forced to flee,” said UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi.
“After a long and successful time with UNHCR, I appreciate her desire to shift her engagement and support her decision,” he said.
“I know the refugee cause will remain close to her heart, and I am certain she will bring the same passion and attention to a wider humanitarian portfolio.”