Angelina Jolie in defense of internationalism – Sergio Vieira de Mello Lecture 2017

Angelina Jolie in defense of internationalism – Sergio Vieira de Mello Lecture 2017


We are here in memory of Sergio Vieira de
Mello and the 21 other men and women, most of them UN workers, who died with him in the
bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad in August 2003. We remember all those who died,
to acknowledge each valuable life cut short, and the families who share, even today, in
their sacrifice. We also remember them for the power of the
example they set: brave individuals from 11 different countries,
working to help Iraqi people, at the direction of the United Nations Security Council, and
on behalf of us all. This is sometimes forgotten: that in serving
under the UN flag they died in our names, as our representatives. At their head was Sergio Vieira de Mello,
a man of extraordinary grace and ability, as so many who knew him testify. A man who gave 30 years to the United Nations,
rising from a field officer to High Commissioner for Human Rights and Special Representative
to Iraq. From Bangladesh and Bosnia to South Sudan
to East Timor, he spent the majority of his career in the field, working alongside people
forced from their homes by war, and assisting them with his skill as a diplomat and negotiator. Perhaps the greatest testament to his contribution,
is how much his advice would be valued today. As the Syrian conflict enters its seventh
year, as we live through the gravest refugee crisis since the founding of the United Nations,
as 20 million people are on the brink of death from starvation in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan
and northeast Nigeria, I cannot imagine that there is anyone in the leadership of the United
Nations who would not welcome the opportunity to consult Sergio, or send him into the field
once more. He is truly missed, even today. It is humbling for me to speak tonight in
the presence of members of Sergio’s family and his former colleagues. I never knew Sergio, but I have stood before
the plaque in the place where he died. I felt profound sadness at the fact that the
conflict in Iraq – the source of so much Iraqi suffering to this day – had claimed
the lives of men and women whose only intention was to try and improve a desperate situation. But I also saw clearly the value and nobility
of a life spent in service of others. Sergio was a man who never turned down an
assignment, no matter how difficult and dangerous – or as others have put it, was “handed
one impossible task after another”. He was a man, to borrow the words of Thomas
Paine, whose country was the world, and whose religion was to do good. He will always remain a hero and inspiration
to all who follow in his footsteps. The UN’s work did not end there, in the
rubble of the Canal Hotel, 14 years ago. Hundreds of UN staff have served, and continue
to, serve in Iraq, as they do from Afghanistan to Somalia, because the task of building peace
and security can never be abandoned, no matter how bleak the situation. My thoughts on Sergio’s life and legacy
derive from my 16 years with UNHCR, the Agency he spent so much of his career serving and
representing. But I also speak as a citizen of my country
– the United States. I believe all of us who work with the UN preserve
this duality. The United Nations is not a country, it is
a place where we come together as nations and people to try to resolve our differences
and unite in common action. As a citizen, I find myself looking out on
a global environment that seems more troubling and uncertain than at any time in my lifetime. I imagine many of you may feel the same. We are grappling with a level of conflict
and insecurity that seems to exceed our will and capabilities: 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. We see some politicians elected partly on
the basis of dismissing international institutions and agreements, as if our countries have not
benefited from cooperation, but actually been harmed by it. We hear some leaders talking 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. We see nations that played a proud role in
the founding of the International Criminal Court withdrawing from it, on the one hand,
and on the other, we see arrest warrants for alleged war crimes issued but not implemented,
and other crimes ignored altogether. We see a country like South Sudan ushered
by the international community into independence, then largely abandoned – not by the UN agencies
and NGOs – but effectively abandoned, without the massive support they needed to make a
success of sovereignty. And we see resolutions and laws on the protection
of civilians and the use of chemical weapons, for instance, flouted repeatedly, in some
cases under the cover of Security Council vetoes, as in Syria. Many of these things are not new – but taken
together – and in the absence of strong international leadership, they are deeply
worrying. When we consider all this and more, as citizens,
what is our answer? Do we, as some would encourage us to think,
turn our backs on the world, and hope we can wait for storms to pass? Or do we strengthen our commitment to diplomacy
and to the United Nations? I strongly believe there is only one choice,
demanded by reason as well as by conscience, which is the hard work of diplomacy and negotiation
and reform of the UN. This is not to say that that is any way an
easy road. And there are reasons people feel insecure
today. The level of conflict and lack of solutions
combined with the fear of terrorism; the reality that globalization has bought vast benefits
to some but worsened the lot of others; the sense of a disconnect between citizens and
governments, or in some countries the lack of governance; the overall feeling that for
all our gains in technology and connectedness, we are less in control of forces shaping our
lives – all these factors and more have contributed to a sense of a world out of balance,
and there are no easy answers. And despite the millions of people who have
lifted themselves out of poverty in our lifetimes, the difference between the lives of those
of us born in wealthy, democratic societies and those born into the slums and refugee
camps of the world is a profound injustice. We see it and we know it to be wrong, at a
simple human level. That inequality is contributing to instability,
conflict and migration as well as to the sense that the international system serves the few
at the expense of the many. But again, what is our answer, as citizens? Do we withdraw from the world where before
we felt a responsibility to be part of solutions? I am a proud American and I am an internationalist. I believe anyone committed to human rights
is an internationalist. It means seeing the world with a sense of
fairness and humility, and recognizing our own humanity in the struggles of others. It stems from love of one’s country, but
not at the expense of others – from patriotism, but not from narrow nationalism. It includes the view that success isn’t
being better or greater than others, but finding your place in a world where others succeed
too. And that a strong nation, like a strong person,
helps others to rise up and be independent. It is the spirit that made possible the creation
of the UN, out of the rubble and ruin and 60 million dead of World War Two; so that
even before the task of defeating Nazism was complete, that generation of wartime leaders
was forging the United Nations. If governments and leaders are not keeping
that flame of internationalism alive today, then we as citizens must. 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. 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. This is not a clash between idealism and realism. It is the recognition that there is no shortcut
to peace and security, and no substitute for the long, painstaking effort to end conflicts,
expand human rights and strengthen the rule of law. We have to challenge the idea that the strongest
leaders are those most willing to dismiss human rights on the grounds of national interest. The strongest leaders are those who are capable
of pursuing both. Having strong values and the will to act upon
them doesn’t weaken our borders or our militaries – it is their essential foundation. None of this is to say that the UN is perfect. Of course, it is not. I have never met a field officer who has not
railed against its shortcomings, as I imagine Sergio did in his darkest moments. He, like all of us, wanted a UN that was more
decisive, less bureaucratic, and that lived up to its standards. But he never said it was pointless. He never threw in the towel. The UN is an imperfect organization because
we are imperfect. It is not separate from us. Our decisions, particularly those made by
the Security Council, have played a part in creating the landscape we are dealing with
today. We should always remember why the UN was formed,
and what it is for, and take that responsibility seriously. We have to recognize the damage we do when
we undermine the UN or use it selectively – or not at all – or when we rely on aid to
do the job of diplomacy, or give the UN impossible tasks and then underfund it. For example today, there is not a single humanitarian
appeal anywhere in the world that is funded by even half of what is required. In fact it is worse than that. Appeals for countries on the brink of famine
today are 17%, 7%, and 5% funded, for example. Of course, emergency aid is not the long-term
answer. No one prefers that kind of aid. Not citizens of donor countries. Not governments. Not refugees. They do not want to be dependent. It would be far better to be able to invest
all our funds in infrastructure and schools and trade and enterprises. But let’s be clear, emergency aid has to
continue because many states cannot or will not protect the rights of citizens around
the world. It is what we spend in countries where we
have no diplomacy or our diplomacy is not working. Until we do better at preventing and reducing
conflict, we are doomed to be in a cycle of having to help feed or shelter people when
societies collapse. As another legendary UN leader, who was also
killed in the line of duty, Dag Hammerskold, said “Everything will be all right – you
know when? When people, just people, stop thinking of
the United Nations as a weird Picasso abstraction and see it as a drawing they made themselves”. The UN can only change if governments change
their policies. And if we as citizens ask our governments
to do that. It is moving, if you think about it: We are
the future generations envisaged in the UN Charter. When our grandparents resolved to “spare
future generations the scourge of war”, as written in the Charter, they were thinking
of us. But as well as dreaming of our safety they
also left us a responsibility. President Roosevelt, addressing the US Congress
in January 1945, six months before the end of Second World War, said this:
“In the field of foreign policy, we propose to stand together with the United Nations
not for the war alone but for the victory for which the war is fought”. He went on:
“The firm foundation can be built- and it will be built. But the continuance and assurance of a living
peace must, in the long run, be the work of the people themselves.” Today, we have to ask ourselves, are we living
up to that mission? They gave us that start. What have we done with it? It is clear to me that we have made huge strides. But our agreements and institutions are only
as strong as our will to uphold them today. And if we do not, for whatever reason, we
bequeath a darker and more unstable world to all those who come after us. It is not for this that previous generations
shed blood and worked so hard on behalf of all of us. The memory of those who came before us holds
us true to our ideals. Resting unchanging in time, they remind us
of who we are and what we stand for. They give us hope to stay in the fight, as
Sergio did, until his last breath. 14 years since his death, there is a stronger
need than ever before for us to stay true to the ideals and purposes of the United Nations. That is what I hope his memory holds us to
today. We can’t all be Sergios. But I hope all of us can determine that we
shall be a generation that renews its commitment to “unite our strength to maintain international
peace and security”, and “to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger
freedom.” But in the final analysis, even if we do not,
even if that level of vision eludes us and we continue to simply manage rather than to
try to overcome our generation’s challenges, we have to keep working determinedly and patiently. And you can be certain, as you do, that you
follow the example of one of the UN’s finest sons: and that to do even a little of his
good, to apply ourselves to the work he left unfinished, in whatever way we can, is a worthy
task for any one of us. Thank you

66 thoughts on “Angelina Jolie in defense of internationalism – Sergio Vieira de Mello Lecture 2017

  1. Great speech, Angelina Jolie have a special quality to find the right words, she is so elegant and eloquent and clear in her words that make her message more powerful.
    She truly become a good and complete Diplomat that is respected by all world and someone that can talk directly to the people in the streets and to the rulers in the power.
    Maybe it´s because she is an actress and a celebrity but it´s easy to listening what she says, her voice, her tone and her expressions give more meaning to her message but it´s the intelligent and well chosen words that make her speech special.

  2. That’s the most amateur ‘presentation’ I’ve ever seen, dreadful enunciation. Surely she’s got enough money to hire somebody to teach her some desperately needed presentation skillsI’m actually embarrassed for her.
    And anybody who thinks that this woman wrote that speech…..she can’t string a sentence together. She's always come across as intellectually-challenged and insincere.

  3. I think however it is a lot more important to identify the 'rising tide of false abuse claims and child abusers masquerading as mothers'

  4. "nationalism in the West masquerading as patriotism"

    Is that like… Angelina Jolie masquerading as a woman?

  5. I am perfectly comfortable living in a multicultural european society, the sad part is that one demographic of the mix the muslim grouping do not appreciate even the notion of multiculturalism, a great shame and ultimately this will collapse Europe as a whole, the Visegrad will be ok but great irreparable damage has already been done, it didnt have to be this way, but this was the plan all along, problem reaction solution, order out of chaos, even if LePen loses the genie is out of the bottle.

  6. Angelina Jolie , if she is for Globalism / Internationalism and the United Nations then she is with the dark side and all the evil they stand for, then I am 100% against Angelina Jolie.

  7. I think it is time for Angelina to spend more time raising her children now .. they need her more than the glip glop does .. she needs to meet the emotional needs of her children right now .. stop acting like a major event hasn't happened in your personal life .. and go unite your family wingle dung k

  8. Well said, Angie. Northeast Nigeria, not Southeast. For more news on sustainable development and current affairs across Africa subscribe to our channel.

  9. People with excessive money don't understand the common man's struggles.
    That is why they'll push agendas like these at the expense of others, because common people don't matter to them.
    They believe you should get out of their way and do things under their terms.
    We are in the days of King and Queens again and it is imperative the United States protects its 2nd Amendment, without that, these "upper class" will not fear the common man.

  10. Why are we taking adivices of how to run our countries from an actress (which is job is to fake emotion and thats it)that lied about her husband hurting their kids just to get custody, is all well know person with severe mental problems not to say, daddy issues?
    Is society running so low of real ideas that this is now our "thinkers"?

  11. Idealism is the best. With realism, you can build idealism. Only a person with idaels can build the future, and bring to him all the best. Angelina Jolie, I love you.

  12. Jolie is out of touch with reality. Middle eastern "refugees" are ravaging and mooching by refusal to integrate, Sweden, Germany, France to name a few. The more they spout globalism, the more militant they will make the West, the real victims.

  13. I support her with her work and duty to UNHR. She already show her deep concern to this refugees. Even them,their life is in danger to those enemy of their country. America welcome them, as long they follows our constitution with respect. Proud of her and I am a fan of her accomplishment in UN. This make her positive in life, and keep family private.

  14. One of the few celebrities who transitioned gracefully. I watch her reach out to those who are affected by famine and inhumane situations and shes been doing it wholeheartedly.What an act of kindness. God bless you Angelina.

  15. Wonderful speech but the information for Nigeria is wrong. Thousands of lives in North Eastern Nigeria are at the brink of Malnutrition, starvation and eventually death from the on going wars (using her own words) and not South Eastern Nigeria. Though her speech is very passionate, a wrong message has been conveyed to the world in that regard. Although she's trying to drive home a message, i do not agree that wrong facts should be used for the propagation of the message. I hope she corrects it. It shouldn't be ignored. South Eastern Nigeria is relatively peaceful and asides being the region where a lot of manufacturing is done in Nigeria, South eastern Nigeria, also adds value to the Country's economy in the area of Agriculture. Most of the states in that region also constitute the oil producing states in Nigeria.

  16. This sounds like a spectacular solution for the tragedy of refugees : Egyptian billionaire offers to buy an island for refugees

    http://cnnmon.ie/1OiGTIV

  17. Hey, I'll say one thing, Julie may be a wolf in sheep's clothing, but she does support groups that helps the unfortunate nations that those globalist try to derail organization trying to get medical add n nutrition to those starving in referee camps, thru meniplation of their laws with the backing of the UN policies backed by 1 world order, religion n gov.

  18. I love #angelinajolie. I like her speech. She was able to express herself very well. Her speech sounds precious. I'm impressed. Her face looks simple yet #beautiful. 😂👑

  19. Too bad that Angelina Jolie wasn't part of the cast in the movie Team America and all the others that were part of the Film Actors Guild in that movie.

  20. je sur un.enfant du village sos torture 1992.par.les.parent.adoptif kaché.au maroc 00212698675850 régente.parle.unhcr .alesde

  21. bonjours engolina je.sur.un.enfant du.villages sos.torturé en.1992.j'ai fui.je.suir.kache.au.maroc.le.unhcr.ma.régente.alesde.engolina pardont

  22. This woman can't even take care of own domestic problems who is she to tell others what to do.
    The supposed refugee crisis is a result of Nato's bombing of Libya which all the European nations warned against but miss Jolie and her followers has no respect for the sovereignty of nations.
    Millions of Christians Jew's, Druze, Zorastrians, Yezidies, Bahai, Atheists et cetera face persecution in the muhammadan world on a daily bases.
    Yet this woman will not uphold the Geneva convention.

  23. I have no interst to live or die, but have interst to justice or injustice. This is final and irrevocable answer.

  24. Lot lo we go, we gone we zone UN of me we lee lot lou we through of the way we gay lot lo we go we gone we zone Kenya on we gone we gay of the way we lay lot lou we Jew of the say we lay lot lo we go we gone we zone Kenya on we gone we on we zone Kenya on we gone we gay of the way we lay lot lee we be we sea of sow lot lay Nigeria go we gone we zone Kenya on we gone we gay of the way we lay lot lou we through we move we lo we go we gone we zone Kenya on we gone we gay of the way we lay United Nations of me we lee lot lou Angela of me we lee lot lo we go we gone we zone Kenya on we gone we gay of the way we lay lot lou we Jew of the way we lay lot lo we go we gone we zone Kenya on we gone we zone we on Kenya gone we gay of the way we lay of the say we lo lot go we gone we zone Kenya on we gone we gay of the way we say lot lo we go we gone we zone Zimbabwe of me we lee lot lou we Jew of the say we lay lot lo we go we gone we zone Kenya on we gone we gay of the way we say lot lo we go we gone we zone Kenya on we gone we on we gay of the say we lay lot lou we Jew of the way we lay lot lo we go we gone we zone Kenya on we gone we gay of the way we say lot lo we go we gone we zone Kenya on we gone we gay of the MOVE we lo lot go Zimbabwe of me we lee lot lo we go we gone we zone Kenya on we gone we gay of the way we lay lot lo we go we gone we zone Kenya on we gone, we on we zone Kenya on we gone we gay of the way we lay lot lou we Jew of the say we lay lot lo we go we gone we zone Kenya on we gone.

  25. beautifull, smart, emphatic and outspoken woman. she rises above the brads and jennies just simply by being herself

  26. Great speech, Angelina Jolie have a special quality to find the right words, she is so elegant and eloquent and clear in her words that make her message more powerful. She truly become a good and complete Diplomat that is respected by all world and someone that can talk directly to the people in the streets and to the rulers in the power.

  27. Is there any other alternative to internationalism?? We live in a small planet with finite resources and some huge problems. We should all unite under the banner of common sense and the fact that we are 1 biological species.

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