Angelina Jolie is doing yet another wonderful thing for the women of the world
Yes, Angelina Jolie may be one of the most beautiful people on the planet, but she is also one of the most charitable, globally conscious, and civically minded. She announced Tuesday that she and British Cabinet Minister William Hague have co-founded The Center for Women, Peace, and Security, the first academic center for combating violence against women in war zones.
The Center, which will be run out of the London School of Economics, will foster education about the atrocities that women face in war-torn countries, and provide research opportunities for students who are as socially minded as Jolie is. One of the Center’s main goals, as Cosmopolitan wrote, will be to “boost the global campaign for women’s rights and abolish the use of sexual violence as a weapon.” This is truly amazing, and Jolie lending her name and time to this project is at once admirable and an important way to bring exposure to these tough but incredibly worthy topics.
Jolie is a special envoy for the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) and has recently returned from Iraq where she met some of the displaced women and children that desperately need an advocate.
When The Guardian asked her who the Center is for, Jolie says, “I picture someone who is not in this room today,” she said. “I think of a girl I met in Iraq three weeks ago. She is 13 years old, but instead of going to school, she sits on the floor in a makeshift tent.”
Jolie has long been a voice for the disenfranchised and mistreated, but is emerging as one of our era’s most noted high-profile philanthropists. The actress, director and international woman’s activist hosted a summit last year as part of the UK’s Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict initiative, and this center is just another way to fight back against the use of violence and rape as a war-time weapon.
Hosted by The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), both Jolie and Hague spoke to students and academic colleagues about the collaboration that will support the goals of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI), also co-founded by Jolie and Hague. The depths of Jolie’s humanitarian efforts know no bounds, and the brutalities of refugees is an issue that is very close to her heart.
She hopes the center will provide a place of education and forward movement for future students, and she says in a statement on the LSE’s website, “There is no stable future for a world in which crimes committed against women go unpunished. We need the next generation of educated youth with inquisitive minds and fresh energy, who are willing not only to sit in the classroom but to go out into the field and the courtrooms and to make a decisive difference.”
Although the LSE Center will be head-quartered in London, American officials fully support the effort as well. Secretary of State John Kerry wrote: “This initiative would be welcome at any moment but it is especially timely now as we strike to prevent further atrocities, by Daesh, al-Qaida, Boko Haram, al-Shabab and other terrorist groups that are kidnapping and abusing women and girls and are consigning thousands into slavery.”
Hillary Clinton expressed similar sentiments in a statement, saying the center would offer women, “the tools and resources to break the barriers that keep them from contributing and participating fully in their governments, economies and societies.”
Jolie and the UNHCR have released two short films published exclusively on theguardian.com. These films tell the story of women of the Kurdish refugee camp in Dohuk, northern Iraq. The women are victims of the war that rages after the invasion of ISIS.
We should all say a collective thank you to Angelina Jolie for making the world a safer place to be a woman. Working to foster a world where all women feel empowered and safe is one of the noblest journeys. And working hard to build a world where our daughters can feel safer is one of the greatest gifts she can offer our planet.