Professor Angelina Jolie? Why Not?
Angelina Jolie - A Woman Due Some Respect
I've Never Been a Big Fan of Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie, the actress once vilified by the media because of her alleged role in breaking up Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston (GASP!), is often unfairly judged for a range of issues that aren't necessarily her own. Whether this goes back to when she won the Academy Award for Girl, Interrupted, or her sometimes-strained relationship with her father Jon Voight, or even the fact that she seems preternaturally beautiful (she is), it doesn't really matter.
It came as something of a surprise that this icon of beauty had been teaching at the prestigious London School of Economics, and even more so when I read that she was not even college educated. It's a commonly held belief that if you are going to teach at a post-secondary institution, particularly one as high end as the London School of Economics, you'd need a masters or a PhD under your belt in order for the faculty - and the students, for that matter - to take you seriously.
However, Angelina Jolie has a wealth of experience in the field of study she's been discussing - women, peace and security - and is reportedly going to be bringing her lectures to Georgetown University.
Named as a special envoy for UNHCR - the United Nations Refugee Agency - in 2012, Angelina Jolie has been working extensively with the United Nations and many countries regarding the crises involving their displaced citizens. She's visited the Syrian-Jordan border in an effort to gain a "boots on the ground" perspective of the continued refugee crisis; she's gone to Iraq where humanitarian conditions are worsening; and she's gone to Greece, where she's urged nations to expand the number of legal pathways open to refugees.
Angelina Jolie is an actress who has often been dismissed because of her ethereal beauty, but clearly, there is far more to her than looks. She's a woman on a mission to make the world a far better place. When she's speaking about women, peace and security, these are issues that she not only is passionate about, she knows about them through actually going and talking to people who are enduring horrific conditions.
The United Nations does not give the title of special envoy because they feel like it. These are appointments given to those who have demonstrated a personal investment into the betterment of the affected regions, and Angelina Jolie has been involved in trying to improve life for refugees for some time. She's actually spoken to survivors of horrific conditions, conditions that none of us would wish on our worst enemies, and spoken to officials at the United Nations to try and make things better.
Why shouldn't she offer lectures - which are apparently unpaid - to university students in order to help them learn about the terrible conditions so many live under, and what they can do to perhaps make things better?
Angelina Jolie Meets with Government Officials in 2008
Angelina Jolie - Working on Passions
Here's the cool thing about Angelina Jolie - she's not choosing scripts based on box office draw or money (at least, that's not how it seems). She's chasing projects because there's passion involved.
She continues to work on educating herself and others, whether it's her neighbor or someone within the hierarchy of the United Nations, about world issues that matter. Jolie wants to make sure that people know about the crises so many in the world have to deal with on a daily basis, and she appears to want to ensure that people actually do something about these issues.
It's something called compassion, and much as people want to criticize Angelina Jolie for being gorgeous, or for being too thin, too successful, too...whatever, she's clearly interested in trying to make this world survivable for all of us, not just western society or those who are fortunate enough to not live in a war zone.
Unfortunately for "civilians" who have been unable to afford to travel as much as Angelina Jolie has to gain the immediate perspective that she has about these terrible conditions in several areas worldwide, walking into a job doesn't usually just happen, so some may look at the fact that Jolie, who does not have a college education, has essentially walked into a job, which could mean someone else who has a degree did not get a job. However, she does bring with her a rather unique set of skills and understanding that few on the planet actually have, so she may indeed be far more qualified in many respects than someone who has a PhD and has done a great deal of book learning about these war zones.
In addition, she's doing this unpaid, so what university wouldn't want free labor? She's offering a very unique, highly specialized program that will serve to educate many and hopefully encourage people to continue her cause.
If I was looking for a way to bring a fresh approach to my university and was able to have a celebrity like Angelina Jolie, who is as well known for her humanitarian causes as Audrey Hepburn once was, come and present guest lectures, I'd jump at the opportunity.