Angelina Jolie says that she hasn't totally ruled out the idea of running for office someday

By Gillian Telling
April 03, 2019 08:30 AM

She’s helped refugees fleeing war-torn countries, spoken before the U.N. and lectured at the London School of Economics.

But could Angelina Jolie ever see herself running for office?

“Never say never,” Jolie, 43, tells PEOPLE in the new issue. “[But ] right now I am looking to others for leadership.”

Jolie’s a UNHCR Special Envoy who helps refugees who are fleeing war-torn countries; she’s also long used her platform to become one of the leading worldwide voices on women’s empowerment and safety, working with the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative, which aims to curb rape as a weapon in both war and among those fleeing it.

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The activist and actress, whose next film Maleficent: Mistress of Evil will be out in October, has long balanced her film career with motherhood (to kids Maddox, 17, Pax, 15, Zahara, 14,  Shiloh, 12, and twins Vivienne and Knox, 10) and her philanthropic efforts.

“I try to speak for what I believe in,” Jolie says of her causes. Currently, one of those causes is that the laws that treat women around the world like “second class citizens” need to change.

Angelina Jolie
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“If you look across the world, there are far too many women and girls who are not only not seeing progress, their rights are slipping away from them,” Jolie says.

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But Jolie adds that the laws don’t just need to change. “We also have to enforce them,” she says. “So one of the things we are putting forward now is a proposal for a permanent international body to investigate war crimes, including mass rape and other sexual and gender-based violence.”

For more about Jolie, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

Her PSVI initiative, which she set up along with former British foreign secretary William Hague in 2012, has seen some progress in the seven years since she founded it.

“There is now a lot more awareness and discussion and many more countries have made commitments,” she says. “For example, 156 countries have pledged not to include amnesties for rape when they are negotiating peace agreements. It is hard to believe, but peace treaties routinely grant immunity to people who’ve carried out the most disgusting violent crimes against civilians. So we have to make sure all those countries live up to that commitment.”

RELATED VIDEO: Angelina Jolie’s Youngest Children Join Her on the Red Carpet for the Premiere of ‘Dumbo’

Jolie’s UN missions have not only helped women and refugees, but has also delivered lifelong friends who are also working toward similar goals.

“The second UN mission I went on, to Cambodia, I met two women from England and France, Katie and Mimi, who were working with UNHCR. Loung was there as well, and we did a UN and HALO mission,” says the single mom, who split from husband Brad Pitt in 2015.

“We have all been friends ever since, for coming up on twenty years now,” she says. “I feel very blessed in my work to have the opportunity to meet so many extraordinary people who spend their lives dedicated to others.”

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