Angelina Jolie is stepping down from her role as ambassador for the UN refugee agency.
The Oscar-winning actor said that refugees are “the people I most admire in the world” and that she would now spend her time working with organizations led by people most directly affected by conflict.
Jolie, 47, is known for her activism as well as her glittering career, starring in films such as Mr & Mrs Smith, Maleficent, Wanted and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. She has been with the UNHCR since 2001 and was appointed as a special envoy in 2012.
On Instagram, Jolie wrote that she would spend the rest of her life working with refugees. “After more than 20 years, today I am resigning my job at the UN Refugee Agency,” she said.
“I believe in many things the UN does, especially in the lives it saves through emergency aid. UNHCR is full of amazing people who make a difference in people’s lives every day.
“Refugees are the people I most admire in the world and I am committed to working with them for the rest of my life.
“I will now work with organizations led by people most directly affected by conflict, who give them the most voice.”
In a joint statement with Jolie, UNHCR praised her for her “tireless” work in more than 60 field missions in countries such as Yemen and Burkina Faso, describing her as “one of the most influential advocates of refugee rights”.
Jolie added that she was “grateful for the privilege and opportunity” of working with the organization.
“I will continue to do everything in my power to support refugees and other displaced people in the years to come,” she said.
“After 20 years of working within the UN system, I feel it is time to start working differently, engaging directly with refugees and local organizations and supporting their advocacy for solutions.”
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said: “Angelina Jolie has been a long-standing key humanitarian partner of UNHCR.
“We are grateful for her decades of service, her commitment and the difference she has made for refugees and those forced to flee.
“After a long and successful time with UNHCR, I appreciate her desire to shift her involvement and support her decision.
“I know the refugee cause will remain close to her heart, and I am sure she will bring the same passion and attention to a broader humanitarian portfolio. I look forward to our continued friendship.”