Angelina Jolie has been awarded Cambodian citizenship by order of royal decree from King Norodom Sihamoni, according to officials in that country.
“The King signed the legal papers and that means she now has Cambodian citizenship,” Toun Siphan, director of the government’s international relation department, tells Reuters.
The honor was granted in recognition of the Oscar-winning actress’s environmental and conservation activities in Cambodia. Jolie – who adopted a Cambodian son, Maddox, now 4 – has agreed to spend $5 million over the next 15 years to set up a wildlife sanctuary in a former Khmer Rouge stronghold in the northwestern province of Battambang.
“This is what we have dreamed for her for a long time,” said Mounh Sarath, director of the Cambodian Vision in Development group. He added that Jolie was worthy of citizenship “not because of the money she has given but (for) her good heart and love” for the Cambodian people.
During Jolie’s visit to Cambodia last July, Prime Minister Hun Sen had offered her citizenship in recognition of her generosity.
“I would be honored, I think. I would certainly be thrilled,” she told reporters at the time.
The document signed by the king grants Cambodian nationality to Jolie, described as “an American born on 4 June 1975 in Los Angeles, USA.”
The actress began her association with Cambodia while making Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, part of which was filmed at the country’s Angkor Wat temple.