Angelina Jolie has opened Europe’s first academic centre to combat violence faced by women in warzones.
The centre, based at LSE in London, will gather key thinkers, activists, policymakers and academics to address and deal with problems such as the prosecution of warzone rapist and women’s engagement in politics.
It will serve as a research unit for both students and professionals.
The actress and special envoy for the UN high commissioner for refugees has recently returned from northern Iraq where she met with refugees who had been forced to leave their homes due to Isis violence.
“If you were to ask me who I think this centre is for, I picture someone who is not in this room today,” Jolie said. “I think of a girl I met in Iraq three weeks ago. She is 13 years old, but instead of going to school, she sits on the floor in a makeshift tent.”
Jolie said that the girl was captured by Isis as a sex slave and repeatedly raped.
“Now she may never be able to complete her education, or get married or have a family, because in her society victims of rape are shunned, and considered shameful,” she added. “To my mind, what we have begun today at LSE is for that Iraqi girl and others like her.”
She called for “the empowerment of women to be the highest priority for the finest minds, in the best academic institutions”.
Jolie was joined by UK foreign secretary William Hague at the event, whom she has worked with for three years on ending violence to women in warzones.