Hollywood star Angelina Jolie underlined the need to keep fighting against the “rising tide of nationalism masquerading as patriotism” as she delivered a United Nations speech in Switzerland. The “Maleficent” star addressed attendees at the Annual Sergio Vieira de Mello Memorial Lecture at the United Nations Assembly Hall in Geneva, where she expressed the importance of inclusion and internationalism at a time when political and social tensions in the US and Europe are at an all-time high, according to Vanity Fair.
Speaking in her role as a special envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the actress called for people to “keep the flame of internationalism alive”. “I am a proud American and I am an internationalist. I believe anyone committed to human rights is. It means seeing the world with a sense of fairness and humility and recognising our own humanity in the struggles of others. It stems from a love of one’s country, but not at the expense of others.
“From patriotism, but not from narrow nationalism. And that a strong nation, like a strong person, helps others to rise up and be independent.” Jolie went on to warn top politicians against turning on organisations like the UN. “As a citizen, I find myself looking out on a global environment that seems more troubling and uncertain than any time in my lifetime,” she continued.
“We are grappling with a level of conflict and insecurity that seems to exceed our capability, with more refugees than ever before, with new wars erupting on top of an existing conflict. We see a rising tide of nationalism masquerading as patriotism and the reemergence of policies encouraging fear and hatred of others.”
Jolie, 41, then made an apparent reference to the election of Republican leader Donald Trump as US President, who has drawn controversy for his immigration policies, including a new travel ban preventing travellers from six Muslim-majority nations from entering the US, and his plans to slash funding for the UN, which he previously dismissed as “just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time”.
“We see some politicians elected partly on the basis of dismissing international institutions and agreements,” she told the crowd. “We hear some leaders talking as if some of our proudest achievements are in fact our biggest liabilities. There is no shortcut to peace and security. We need to stand true to the ideals of the UN… We are the UN.”
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Jolie’s speech drew high praise from attendees at the Sergio Vieira de Mello Memorial Lecture, which is held annually to address key humanitarian themes and issues highlighted by the late Brazilian diplomat, who was killed in a bombing in Iraq in 2003.
It’s not the first time the star has spoken out against Trump – she recently penned a passionate op-ed for The New York Times, insisting the President’s first executive order restricting immigration of refugees and other travellers in January was a big mistake. That legislation was halted by a federal judge, but he recently introduced an updated version which is currently in effect.