Angelina Jolie’s Role at London School of Economics Sparks Debate

The recent announcement of Angelina Jolie Pitt, acclaimed actress and humanitarian, joining the academic faculty at the esteemed London School of Economics (LSE) has ignited a lively discussion within the university and across online platforms.

Teaming up with former UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, Jolie Pitt will work alongside other LSE fellows, scholars, and activists to advance gender equality and empower women in various aspects of life among Master’s students.

Professor Christine Chinkin, head of the Centre for Women, Peace and Security at the university, lauded the decision, emphasizing its vital role in advancing knowledge and shaping global and local policies. Jolie Pitt hopes this move will inspire other academic institutions as well.

Despite the endorsements from the university and Jolie Pitt herself, the appointment of one of the world’s most recognizable figures has sparked divided opinions.

The Independent interviewed two LSE students – one expressing support for the appointment and another expressing opposition, shedding light on the varying perspectives within the student body:

Joel Pearce, 19, Second-year BSc Government student

“Critics argue that Angelina Jolie’s appointment is a mere ploy to attract attention and students to the university, but I believe they’re missing the essence.

“Being a UN ambassador and special envoy, she brings years of activism and research experience in the field, notably contributing to raising awareness about sexual violence in conflict. She embodies the kind of real-world insight that LSE students should be exposed to.

“Appointments like this break down the walls of detached and elitist academia – not because she’s an Oscar winner, but because she offers a unique perspective that can’t be found in textbooks.

“Universities have a tradition of appointing visiting professors with practical experience in fields like politics and journalism. Angelina Jolie fits right into this, even with her superstar status.”

Anonymous, 20, First-year BSc International Relations and History student

“Angelina Jolie’s new role as a ‘visiting professor in practice’ at LSE seems out of place.

“While Jolie has indeed used her celebrity for commendable causes and shed light on the issue of women in conflict, teaching Master’s students at one of Britain’s most prestigious universities, alongside esteemed professors who have reached the peak of their fields, demands more than a surface-level understanding of a topic.

“Unfortunately, LSE’s past actions do not favor its case; in 2008, the institution conferred a PhD upon Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, following substantial donations from the Gaddafi Foundation. Though seemingly different, both instances undermine our supposed meritocratic society, where achievement and merit are meant to be the sole criteria for academic or professional success.

“It also undermines the hard work put in by students to secure a place at LSE. How can a student who has diligently pursued education, obtained a bachelor’s degree, and secured a spot for a Master’s degree be taught by someone who, despite all respect, lacks substantial experience and academic qualifications?

“While meeting Jolie would be an honor due to her admirable humanitarian work, appointing her as a visiting professor at LSE only serves to undercut the university, its students, its faculty, and, ultimately, our meritocratic society.”

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