Today, on World Bee Day, National Geographic is teaming up with filmmaker, actor and humanitarian activist, Angelina Jolie, to raise awareness across Nat Geo platforms of bee conservation and a new program to empower women beekeepers around the world.

National Geographic’s exclusive World Bee Day interview with Angelina Jolie at NatGeo.com/Bees. by Dan Winters/National Geographic

To draw attention to United Nations’ World Bee Day, National Geographic’s Indira Lakshmanan, senior executive editor, sat down for an exclusive interview with Jolie, who, as Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, has seen firsthand the link between environmental destruction, food insecurity and human displacement around the world. She has also spent 17 years supporting local communities in Cambodia in their efforts to combat the deforestation and illegal logging that threaten bees, other wildlife, and the ecosystem as a whole, through a foundation named for her eldest son, Maddox.

As part of the in-depth interview with Nat Geo, Jolie discusses the importance of bee conservation and why beekeeping is vital to sustainable agriculture, environmental health, and food security. The interview also focuses on Jolie’s involvement in the GUERLAIN x UNESCO “Women for Bees” programme, helping promote its twin objectives of women’s empowerment and biodiversity conservation. By 2025, the program aims to build 2,500 hives within 25 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves and restock 125 million bees. The 50 women to graduate by 2025 will be trained and supported in establishing their own beekeeping operations.

Additionally, in an effort to show the beauty and importance of bees in our environment, National Geographic photographer and beekeeper Dan Winters captured an exclusive selection of remarkable images of Jolie, dressed in a Gabriela Hearst sustainable dress and covered in a swarm of bees. Winters, who is available for interviews, was inspired by the iconic 1981 Richard Avedon portrait of “The Beekeeper.” Using the same pheromone the photographer and entomologist formulated for Avedon’s portrait exactly 40 years earlier, Winters carefully photographed Jolie at one with bees in California, with the aim to honor both Avedon and his photography while bringing attention to bees and beekeepers everywhere.

The spotlight on bee conservation falls under Nat Geo’s recently launched Planet Possible initiative, designed to inspire and empower people to ‘live more lightly on the planet.’

“With so much we are worried about around the world and so many people feeling overwhelmed with bad news and the reality of what is collapsing and what is happening, this is one [issue] that we can manage,” says Jolie on why she felt it was important to bring attention to bee conservation. “We can certainly all step in and do our part, and we can do much better and anybody can.”

“At National Geographic, we recognize the power that visual storytelling has to drive real change,” said National Geographic’s VP of visuals and immersive experiences Whitney Johnson. “In celebrating World Bee Day, we wanted to shine a light on the difficulties facing bees in a creative and eye-catching way. Collaborating with Angelina Jolie and inspired by the iconic Richard Avedon portrait, the ‘Women for Bees’ entrepreneurship program presented a unique entry point for us to engage readers on an issue that they might not think about everyday but impacts so much of our everyday lives.”

You can find National Geographic’s exclusive World Bee Day interview with Angelina Jolie at NatGeo.com/Bees.

National Geographic’s exclusive World Bee Day interview with Angelina Jolie at NatGeo.com/Bees. by Dan Winters/National Geographic

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