Angelina Jolie Warns of ‘Rising Tide of Nationalism Masquerading as Patriotism’

U.S. actress Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, listens to a question during a news conference following a visit to the Midyat refugee camp in Mardin, southeastern Turkey, near the Syrian border, Saturday, June 20, 2015. Marking World Refugee Day Jolie visited the camp …
AP/Emrah Gurel

Angelina Jolie defended internationalism and the United Nations in a lengthy speech Wednesday at UN headquarters in Geneva, where the actress and humanitarian warned of a “rising tide of nationalism” in the West “masquerading as patriotism.”

In a nearly 20 minute-long speech, Jolie — who serves as a U.N. Special Envoy — honored the life of the late UN diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello, who was killed in Iraq in 2003, and praised the United Nations as a vital forum where countries could come together to seek peace and unity.

But Jolie also sounded a warning note, saying that as an American citizen, she sees a global environment “more troubling and uncertain” than at any time in her lifetime.

“We are grappling with a level of conflict and insecurity that seems to exceed our will and capabilities,” Jolie said, “with more refugees than ever before, and new wars erupting on top of existing conflicts, some already lasting decades.”

“We see a rising tide of nationalism, masquerading as patriotism, and the re-emergence of policies encouraging fear and hatred of others,” she added.

The actress also appeared to criticize President Donald Trump without mentioning his name, referring to leaders who talk “as if some of our proudest achievements are in fact our biggest liabilities – whether it is the tradition of successfully integrating refugees into our societies, or the institutions and treaties we have built rooted in laws and human rights.”

Describing herself as a “proud American” and an “internationalist,” Jolie called for reform at the United Nations so as not to “bequeath a darker and more unstable world to all those who come after us.”

“The challenge is how to restore that sense of balance and hopefulness in our countries, while not sacrificing all we have learnt about the value and necessity of internationalism,” Jolie said. “Because a world in which we turn our back on our global responsibilities will be a world that produces greater insecurity, violence and danger for us and for our children.”

Read the full transcript of Jolie’s speech here.


Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum


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