WASHINGTON – Actress Angelina Jolie, currently at an African resort awaiting the birth of the baby she is having with Brad Pitt, did something unusual on Wednesday. She thanked the media.
Jolie, who is getting help from Namibian authorities to keep reporters and photographers away from the resort where she is staying with Pitt and their two adopted children, joined in a telephone conference call to publicize efforts to raise money to provide an education for 100 million children in poor nations who are not now in school.
"I am really thrilled to have this opportunity ... to bring this to the forefront of people's minds this week," she said. "On a rare occassion, I am really thanking the press because this is so important."
Jolie participated in the call with British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and Gene Sperling, top White House economic adviser in the Clinton administration and currently the U.S. director of the Global Campaign for Education.
Brown recently announced that Britain would boost its spending for the project by an additional $15 billion over the next 10 years and challenged other members of the Group of Seven wealthy industrial countries including the United States to match Britain's commitment.
Jolie said that the issue had taken on a personal dimension for her through her adopted daughter, who was born in Ethiopia, a country where 6 million children are not in school.
"I see my daughter learning things and getting ready for school," Jolie said. "Many things make it so personal for me."
Jolie and her family are currently staying at the luxury Burning Shores resort hotel in Namibia, an African nation which gained its independence from neighboring South Africa in 1990 after a 23-year war.
The Sunday Times of South Africa reported that its own photographer and three French photographers had been ordered to leave Namibia or face arrest, a move defended by the country's prime minister. Journalists require accreditation to work in the country.
Jolie and Pitt have not said when the baby is due, but Brown may have given a little hint when he said, "I join everybody in wishing her well for the baby that is about to be born."