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Angelina Jolie defends UN, decries 'tide of nationalism'

Associated Press logo Associated Press 3/15/2017
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador American actress Angelina Jolie, listens, during The annual lecture of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP) © The Associated Press United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador American actress Angelina Jolie, listens, during The annual lecture of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

GENEVA (AP) — Angelina Jolie has made a strong defense of the United Nations, saying the world body, as "imperfect" as it is, needs reform but also support.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador American actress Angelina Jolie, listens, during The annual lecture of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP) © The Associated Press United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador American actress Angelina Jolie, listens, during The annual lecture of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

The American actress and special envoy for the U.N. refugee agency decried a "rising tide of nationalism masquerading as populism, and the re-emergence of policies encouraging fear and hatred of others" during a speech at the U.N. in Geneva on Wednesday.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador American actress Angelina Jolie, smiles during The annual lecture of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP) © The Associated Press United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador American actress Angelina Jolie, smiles during The annual lecture of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

Saying she was speaking as a "proud American" and "an internationalist," Jolie said some politicians were elected "partly on the basis of dismissing international institutions and agreements."

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador American actress Angelina Jolie, smiles during The annual lecture of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP) © The Associated Press United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador American actress Angelina Jolie, smiles during The annual lecture of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

She didn't mention President Donald Trump, amid concerns that the U.S. administration could cut crucial funding for the United Nations.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador American actress Angelina Jolie, left, sits next to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Italian Filippo Grandi, during The annual lecture of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP) © The Associated Press United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador American actress Angelina Jolie, left, sits next to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Italian Filippo Grandi, during The annual lecture of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

"We have to recognize the damage we do when we undermine the U.N., or use it selectively, or not at all," Jolie said. She said "there is not a single humanitarian appeal anywhere in the world that is funded by even by half of what is required."

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador American actress Angelina Jolie, left, sits next to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Italian Filippo Grandi, during The annual lecture of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP) © The Associated Press United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador American actress Angelina Jolie, left, sits next to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Italian Filippo Grandi, during The annual lecture of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

Jolie addressed a ceremony honoring Sergio Vieira de Mello, the U.N. envoy to Iraq who died in a 2003 bombing attack in Baghdad, and cited his faith in the institution despite its shortcomings.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador American actress Angelina Jolie, during The annual lecture of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP) © The Associated Press United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador American actress Angelina Jolie, during The annual lecture of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

"The U.N. is an imperfect organization because we are imperfect. It is not separate from us," she said, adding that de Mello believed it should be "more decisive, less bureaucratic," but "he never said it was pointless and he never threw in the towel."

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