Academy Award-winning actress Angelina Jolie is expected to lend her star power to next week's peacekeeping summit in Vancouver.
A draft program for the two-day meeting leaked to The Canadian Press says Jolie will deliver a keynote address at the event, appearing as a special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and co-founder of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative.
The topic of Jolie's Nov. 15 address is not listed, but the Liberal government has pushed for the summit to include discussions about increasing gender equality in peacekeeping and ending sexual abuse by warring factions — as well as peacekeepers themselves.
After long ignoring the issue of abuse, the international community has in recent years stepped up its efforts to end rape and other sexual violence in conflict zones and to hold perpetrators to account.
But the UN has also struggled with revelations that peacekeepers themselves have either sexually abused or exploited the very people they were to protect in a number of countries.
Canadian peacekeepers have been among those implicated: UN figures show that three Canadian police officers deployed to Haiti have been accused of sexual abuse or exploitation since 2015.
The most recent was this last March, which the UN and Canadian authorities are still investigating, while one of the others from 2015 was sent home for what the UN termed "administrative action." The third incident, also from 2015, is still under investigation. The alleged perpetrators have not been publicly identified.
Patrick Shanahan, the U.S. deputy secretary of defence, is scheduled to be the other keynote speaker at the summit, which kicks off Nov. 14 and is expected to play host to representatives from 80 countries, including approximately 50 defence ministers.
On peacekeeping more broadly, sources say the government has been in talks with the UN about where to send a Canadian contribution; options include providing helicopters in Mali and Haiti and a transport plane based in Uganda.
Canada is also reportedly prepared to contribute to a rapid-reaction force in the Golan Heights, an area of land between Israel and Syria, and help train the militaries of other peacekeeping nations.
An announcement on Canada's plans is expected in Vancouver.