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Communicator of the Week: Angelina Jolie

16th April 2013

So how does a one time second grade actress, more famous for her looks than her acting, become a woman of substance sharing a platform with the British foreign secretary?

Angelina Jolie's story is a case study in developing a positive reputation through doing not merely telling. A showcase of substance over celebrity froth giving her credibility and power to make lives better. Her professional – that is Hollywood career – has blossomed too as her charitable work developed. This week she was sharing a stage at the G8 foreign ministers meeting in London to highlight, and urge steps to prevent, the problem of rape in conflict zones. This follows a visit she made last month alongside foreign secretary, William Hague, to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

She has become a frequent visitor to former war-zones the world over, educating herself along the way, giving her the capability to see what needs doing on the policy front – and who she needs on-side to get this done. As she shared a stage with the foreign ministers from the richest nations on earth, she may well have been thinking she has visited more failed states than most. It may have also crossed her mind that this new initiative may not have been begun without her acting as catalyst and champion.

Her life changed when she filmed Tomb Raider in Cambodia and she saw those who had lost limbs as a result of land mines. Since then she has been a consistent campaigner on issues relating to war and its impact on ordinary people. This week the richest, most powerful, nations committed to taking action for millions. As Angelina Jolie stood flanked by the politicians to address the world's media – her hair scrapped back, face framed by simple pearls on a conservative black dress – she had come a long way from the young actress playing a character from a computer game. For this she deserves immense credit and is why she is my Communicator of the Week.

Written by Edward Staite, founder of Staite Communications

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