Angelina Jolie Slams 'Nationalism Masquerading as Patriotism' in Passionate Speech as She Continues Humanitarian Trip Through Europe

The activist and filmmaker called for support toward internationalism and warned against the growing tide of harmful nationalism

Angelina Jolie is continuing her humanitarian work in Europe as she speaks in front of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The filmmaker and activist, who has worked as a special envoy of UNHCR since 2012, gave a rousing speech on Wednesday in Geneva, in which she called for people to “keep the flame of internationalism alive” and warned against the rising tide of “nationalism masquerading as patriotism.” The speech served as the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation’s lecture in memory of the U.N. official who lost his life at the Iraqi bombing of the U.N. Baghdad office in 2003.

“I am a proud American and I am an internationalist,” Jolie, 41, said in her speech. “I believe anyone committed to human rights is. 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 a love of one’s country, but not at the expense of others. From patriotism, but not from narrow nationalism. And that a strong nation, like a strong person, helps others to rise up and be independent.”

The actress has been vocal about helping refugees and most recently wrote an op-ed for The New York Times titled “Refugee Policy Should Be Based on Facts, Not Fear” just days after President Donald Trump signed an executive order that banned travel and immigration from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries.

In her speech, the activist touched on the growing insecurity of the world and warned against leaders who speak against international organizations like the U.N. and incite fear in internationalism.

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Speaks At Annual lecture of the Sergio Vieira De Mello Foundation
Harold Cunningham/Getty

“As a citizen, I find myself looking out on a global environment that seems more troubling and uncertain than any time in my lifetime,” she said. “We are grappling with a level of conflict and insecurity that seems to exceed our capability, with more refugees than ever before, with new wars erupting on top of existing conflict. We see a rising tide in nationalism masquerading as patriotism and the reemergence of policies encouraging fear and hatred of others.”

She added: “We see some politicians elected partly on the basis of dismissing international institutions and agreements. We hear some leaders talking as if some of our proudest achievements are in fact our biggest liabilities.”

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The actress and activist has been in Europe this week speaking about her humanitarian work. She was featured on a panel at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Preventing Sexual Violence initiative she helped launch in 2012.

She also gave her first lecture at the London School of Economics on Tuesday, where she will be teaching a Master’s class at the Centre for Women, Peace and Security starting in September. The humanitarian will be working as a visiting professor for the school to talk about her work in her 16 years of experience on the ground.

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