News Stories, 28 October 2003
NEW YORK, Oct 28 (UNHCR) – A new book offering insight on refugee life was released today, detailing the experiences of UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie over a year of travels with the UN refugee agency.
"Notes from My Travels: Visits with Refugees in Africa, Cambodia, Pakistan and Ecuador" is a compilation of Jolie's journals between February 2001 and June 2002. It is dedicated to refugees and UNHCR staff, and features a foreword by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers.
"Since her appointment as a Goodwill Ambassador, Angelina has more than fulfilled my expectations," writes the High Commissioner. "She has proven to be a close partner and a genuine colleague in our efforts to find solutions for the world's refugees. Above all, she has helped to make the tragedy of refugees real to everyone who will listen. Angelina's interest in helping refugees, her personal generosity, and her truly compassionate spirit are an inspiration to us all."
UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall adds, "I was deeply moved by her descriptions of individual refugees struggling to live with dignity and hope, and found her personal commitment to be an inspiration. Angelina's journals document her awakening as a humanitarian activist and I hope they will move readers to act."
Describing her own book, Jolie says, "I am not a writer. These are just my journals. They are just a glimpse into a world that I am just beginning to understand, a world I could never really explain in words."
The book starts with Jolie's first trip with UNHCR to Sierra Leone and Tanzania, where she experienced first-hand the plight of refugees. Later trips brought her into contact with Cambodian returnees, Afghan refugees in Pakistan, and Colombian refugees in Ecuador.
"These problems do not disappear just because we do not hear about them," she notes. "There is so much more happening around the world than what is communicated to us about the top stories we do hear. We all need to look deeper and discover for ourselves.... What is the problem? Where is it? How can we help to solve it?"
Jolie, who has been a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador since August 2001, will donate all her proceeds from the Simon and Schuster book to the refugee agency. She has also joined UNHCR on missions to Kenya, Kosovo, Namibia, the North Caucasus, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
Find out more about Angelina's book on the Simon and Schuster website.