London, May 24, 2016:Â Angelina Jolie Pitt, the Oscar-winning actress and special envoy for the United Nations refugee agency, has taken on a new role: university professor.
Ms. Jolie Pitt will join the London School of Economicsâ€™ Center for Women, Peace and Security as one of four visiting professors in a new masterâ€™s program that starts taking applicants in the fall, according to a statementreleased on Monday by the university, one of Britainâ€™s most renowned academic institutions. Ms. Jolieâ€™s work there will include delivering guest lectures and taking part in workshops as a â€œvisiting professor in practice.â€
Ms. Jolie Pitt was appointed along with William Hague, with whom shefounded the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative in 2012, when Mr. Hague was the British foreign secretary.
â€œI am very encouraged by the creation of this masterâ€™s program,â€ Ms. Jolie Pitt said in the statement. â€œI hope other academic institutions will follow this example, as it is vital that we broaden the discussion on how to advance womenâ€™s rights and end impunity for crimes that disproportionately affect women, such as sexual violence in conflict.â€
Ms. Jolie Pitt, who is married to the actor Brad Pitt and has six children, said she was looking forward to sharing her experiences working with governments and the United Nations. She has been involved in humanitarian work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for more than a decade, taking on some of the most difficult issues related to conflict, refugees, women and sexual violence, as a goodwill ambassador and a special envoy.
Her duties have been interspersed with her acting roles in films like â€œWanted,â€ â€œSalt,â€ â€œMaleficentâ€ and â€œKung Fu Panda,â€ among others, and her directing work in â€œBy the Sea,â€ â€œUnbrokenâ€ and â€œIn the Land of Blood and Honey.â€ She won an Academy Award for best supporting actress for â€œGirl, Interruptedâ€ (1999). Her activities have fostered a surreal dichotomy in her public persona, as she is photographed on red carpets and in refugee camps.
In an Op-Ed article in The New York Times last year, Ms. Jolie Pitt described a visit to a refugee camp in the Dohuk Province of Iraq. â€œFor many years I have visited camps, and every time, I sit in a tent and hear stories. I try my best to give support,â€ she wrote. â€œOn this trip I was speechless.
â€œWhat do you say to a mother with tears streaming down her face who says her daughter is in the hands of the Islamic State, or ISIS, and that she wishes she were there, too?â€
She has recently waded into the global migrant crisis, saying in London last week that she has been â€œvery disheartenedâ€ by the response of the United States and that she feared countries would adopt increasingly isolationist policies, The Associated Press reported. She said worries about uncontrolled immigration had given a â€œfalse air of legitimacy to those who promote politics of fear and separation.â€
In its statement on Monday, the London School of Economics gave no details about Ms. Jolieâ€™s specific teaching duties or how often she would be on campus. It said the new masterâ€™s program included courses titled â€œWomen, Peace and Security,â€ â€œGender and Militarization,â€ and â€œGender and Human Rights.â€ Students will conduct research on preventing sexual violence in conflicts and on women, peace and security.
The other two visiting professors were Jane Connors, an Amnesty International advocacy director; and Madeleine Rees, the secretary general of the Womenâ€™s International League for Peace and Freedom.
Critics of some of the summit meetings organized by the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative have said they cost more to conduct than Britainâ€™s government commits in spending to prosecute rape in conflict zones, The Guardian reported in 2015.
When she was named a goodwill ambassador for UNHCR in 2001, Ms. Jolie said she wanted to get involved because it was impossible to ignore the fact that millions of people were suffering worldwide.
â€œI honestly want to help,â€ she said. â€œI donâ€™t believe I feel differently from other people. I think we all want justice and equality, a chance for a life with meaning.â€