Angelina Jolie's Contributions to Humanitarian Work

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There are a number of factors, such as products, practices, and media events, which can influence globalization economically, politically, and culturally. However, the impact of a single individual is often overlooked when discussing globalization. One individual whose actions have dramatically affected the progression of globalization is Oscar-winning actress, Angelina Jolie. Although she is often typecast in her films as a troubled rebel, Jolie has accomplished far more than most people can say with her impressive contributions to humanitarian work. Since 2001, she has made various efforts to resolve refugee problems in over twenty different countries. Despite the media’s obsession with her glamorous appearance, her humanitarian work proves to the world that her beauty is not only skin-deep. Human rights are a broad category of activism, allowing celebrities many different avenues to find their role. Angelina Jolie serves as a perfect example of globalization because she has contributed to so many different communities in different ways. First, it is important to define globalization for a better understanding. In class, we discussed how globalization can be explained both objectively and subjectively. Instead of using various metaphors, I will go straight into the two main definitions we covered. In class, we discussed that Anthony Giddens defined globalization as “the intensifications of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa”. Although I agree with his implication, I liked Jack Lule’s definition more in our class reading Language and Metaphor. He explains, “Globalization is a set of multiple, uneven, and sometimes historical processes, including economics, politics, and culture, that have combined with the evolution of media technology to create the conditions under which the globe itself can now be understood as ‘an imagined community.’” (Lule, 31) Although both definitions serve to explain globalization, I felt that Lule’s meaning is more in-depth and directly relates to Jolie and her humanitarian work. It is also important to mention that the media makes globalization possible by creating the conditions for global capitalism and by promoting the conceptualization of the world market economy. Advertising is the primary support of media in our time and Angelina Jolie is a prominent example of a celebrity that uses this advertising in a positive way. For example, Jolie and her longtime boyfriend, and recently-made fiancé, Brad Pitt started the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, an organization devoted to eliminating extreme rural poverty and protecting natural resources and wildlife. However, the work of this organization and her multiple contributions to other organizations are only a few of the efforts she has made to humanity. Jolie is perhaps the most publicly recognized celebrity of human rights. Due to the incredible amount of time she has spent working with refugees, Jolie was named an active UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. Since this honor was bestowed upon her, she has spent a lot of time working at the UNHCR headquarters in Geneva. Although she was given this prestigious title to draw attention to her humanitarian work, the UNHCR also wanted a noteworthy name associated with the organization. No matter what she does, Jolie receives an inordinate amount of attention from both the public and the media. Her desire is to help educate the public, not only about the troubles of refugees, but also about the resolution and courage they show in overcoming all odds to restore their lives. A well-known celebrity sharing these issues is a great way to get worldwide attention and more support through donations and physical help. She first developed an interest in humanitarian aid while shooting scenes in Cambodia for the movie Tomb Raider in 2000. What she saw while in Cambodia ignited a passion for human rights that she...
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