January 15, 2009

Notes from My Travels by Angelina Jolie

BOOK #: 6
CHALLENGES: 9 in 2009, In Their Shoes, Triple 999
RATING: AMAZING! (4.5 Stars)

This is a collection of Angelina Jolie's journals that she took while traveling with the UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees). If I had better health, this is the kind of work I would be doing so I find it fascinating, inspiring and enviable. If you like reading about humanitarian crises, I imagine you will also.

The journals cover her first times in the field with UNHCR- Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Pakistan, Cambodia, and Ecuador. Jolie writes about the individual refugees and their situations so well and with such heart. She is humble throughout and talks openly about how lucky and grateful she is to live where she lives and to have the opportunities that she has. She also never misses an opportunity to pour praises on both the staff of UNHCR as well as the refugees. Here is one excerpt from her trip to Ecuador that I particularly wanted to share:

"We talk at dinner about the difficulty of aid in the region. UNHCR, for example- its core mandate is to help refugees. But over the years UNHCR has, out of the world's necessity, also begun to help IDPs (internally displaced people.) But UNHCR is dependent on 98 percent of its funding on voluntary contributions from governments and other donors. They have hardly enough to take care of the core mandate. Last year from budget cuts, there were many jobs cut. Someone at the table explained the problem of IDPs for UNHCR perfectly: It is as if you are a parent of four children. You are just getting by. You hardly have enough to feed them and you find two abandoned children you know you should adopt. If you don't, you know no one else will. So what do you do? Somehow you have to find a way. If no one else in the international community is focusing on helping the over 1 million IDPs in Colombia- these are human beings- than you have to find a way."


  1. This looks very interesting. It's nice when people that have so much are able to appreciate what they have and to reach out to help others :) She is an amazing woman!

  2. I agree. It is very inspiring.

  3. I had no idea this book existed. I really want to read it now. Thanks for letting me be aware of it. (Yeah, that did sound kind of awkward. Pretend you didn't notice.)

  4. I really do admire her and this sounds like a good book ... I personally like how she uses her celebrity status to help out. And I don't get why people are so down on her for adopting children! She has the means so why not do it?

  5. Jenners-
    Exactly what I think. If I had the will and the means you better believe I would be doing this same thing. If people have celebrity and DON'T use it for good, that concerns me. So much can be made aware if celebs would do this more often (esp. if they mean it, which I believe Jolie does). Thanks for the comment, friend! :)


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