Actress Angelina Jolie, newly engaged to partner of seven years Brad Pitt, visited Ecuador this weekend on her first trip as special envoy of High Commissioner for Refugees United Nations, the UN said in a statement.
Jolie talking to farmer at a refugee community near Barranca Mermeja, Ecuador on April 22, 2012. (AFP)
The community, composed of Colombian families -refugees of the Colombian conflict- are taking part in an agricultural project supported by UNHCR to encourage self-sufficiency and improve nutrition in the community.
Jolie is led through the jungle by local agriculture workers. (AFP)
Jolie, promoted to the role on April 17, chose Ecuador because it is the home of the largest refugee population in Latin America -- largely people fleeing a half-century of conflict in neighboring Colombia.
Jolie speaks to 71-year-old Gerardina from a village on the banks of the San Miguel River which marks the border between Ecuador and Colombia. (AFP)
She visited the Amazon province of Sucumbios on the Colombian border which is made up of some 80 percent refugees, and during her trip met with Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino to "discuss the situation of refugee protection," said the UNHRC.
Ecuador's Foreign Ministry showing US actress Angelina Jolie (2-L) walking with Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Quito, Ecuador, on April 22, 2012. (AFP)
Jolie, a goodwill ambassador since 2001, has taken on a "new and expanded" role as UNHCR special envoy, performing more diplomatic duties.
Jolie, is the winner of a best supporting actress Oscar for her role in the 1999 film "Girl, Interrupted" and one of Hollywood's most glamorous and best-paid stars, and half of Tinseltown's most celebrated power couple, along with live-in love, actor Brad Pitt.
Angelina interacted with local communities among whom there are an estimated 56,000 Colombian refugees. (AFP)
In her new post, she is expected to focus on "large-scale crises resulting in the mass displacement of people."
In a previous assignment as a UNHRC goodwill ambassador, Jolie made some 40 humanitarian trips, two of which were to Ecuador.