Jolie to take on new U.N. refugee role

Tue Oct 4, 2011 3:38pm EDT
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By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) - Angelina Jolie will be taking on a new role in the world's most acute refugee crises, the American actress and United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said on Tuesday.

UNHCR sources told Reuters they expected her to be named Special Representative on the Afghan refugee situation, to help resolve the fate of 2.7 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran. But a representative for the actress said there was no final agreement.

Jolie, who has served for 10 years as goodwill ambassador for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, and donated $5 million to its aid operations, declined to be specific, telling reporters: "We are looking at a few countries in the world.

"We're hoping to discuss it in the next few weeks but we want to research it properly and do it well," she said after addressing a meeting of UNHCR's Executive Committee in Geneva.

Antonio Guterres, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said Jolie would become "our special envoy mainly for the most dramatic refugee situations that require a lot of advocacy" and help mobilize strong international support.

"We will be asking you to do more and more in this regard," he said.

The UNHCR later issued a statement saying that her expanded role had not yet been finalized. "A number of countries are under consideration and discussions are ongoing with relevant authorities regarding Ms. Jolie's additional role," it said.

The U.S.-based Endeavor Group, which represents Jolie, told Reuters: "There is no agreement. Nothing is final."   Continued...

<p>United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie presents the Nansen prize to Yemen's Society for Humanitarian Solidarity and its founder, Nasser Salim Ali Al-Hamairy (not pictured) at a ceremony in Geneva October 3, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Tanner/UNHCR/Handout</p>