Countess of Wessex teams up with Angelina Jolie to end rape and sexual violence in war zones 

Countess of Wessex teams up with Angelina Jolie to end rape and sexual violence in war zones 

The Countess is patron of more than 70 charities and has long championed for gender equality having founded the Women’s Network Forum in 2014, which promotes women in the workplace.

The royal, who built a career in public relations and ran her own firm for five years before becoming undertaking full time official duties in 2002, is understood to have spent the past year attending conferences, meetings and lectures to learn more about the work of the PSVI and WPS. In November, she met Ms Jolie at the PSVI’s ‘Fighting Stigma Through Film’ festival at the British Film Institute in London.

A palace source said: “This a new strand of work for HRH, something she has been slowly stepping into and engaging with over recent months.

“She has been profoundly moved by the things she’s learned.”

The Countess will be formally announcing her support for both initiatives at a reception for ‘Women Peacebuilders’ at Buckingham Palace on Friday.

Ms Jolie became the special envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2012 having served as a UN Goodwill ambassador since 2001.

She focuses on major crises resulting in mass population displacements and undertakes diplomatic advocacy on behalf of UNHCR. As Special Envoy she has carried out over 50 field missions, including 11 visits to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq since the start of the Syria conflict.

Inspired by her directorial debut with In the Land of Blood and Honey, which brought to light the use of rape as a weapon of war in the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, Ms Jolie set up the PSVI with former Tory leader Lord Hague in May 2012.

As part of their joint work on PSVI, they have travelled to the DRC, Rwanda, South Africa and Bosnia – Herzegovina to engage with the survivors and local NGOs and host governments.

They also co-hosted the 2014 Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London while Ms Jolie has addressed the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial conferences in London in 2016 and in Vancouver in 2017. In June 2017 she visited the International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Kenya, where 7,000 peacekeepers are trained each year on preventing sexual violence in conflict.

The twice married mother of six, who divorced Brad Pitt in 2016, was made an Honorary Dame Commander in the Order of St Michael and St George in 2014, for services to UK foreign policy and the campaign against sexual violence in conflict.

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