06/07/2007 at 06:00 PM EDT
has been showing her glamorous side lately – walking red carpets from Cannes to Hollywood – but Thursday she was honored for her philanthropic work by joining the Council on Foreign Relations, PEOPLE has learned exclusively.
The prestigious think tank officially approved Jolie's membership nomination, adding her to a group whose membership includes presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, ABC's Diane Sawyer, Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice and journalist Tom Brokaw.
Earlier this year, Jolie, already a UN Goodwill Ambassador, was nominated and recommended for approval by the CFR membership.
"Angelina Jolie is accomplished in her field and has demonstrated serious interest in issues such as Darfur, international education and refugees," says Lisa Shields, vice president of communications at CFR.
"As such, her profile fits very well with other young professionals we've selected as the next generation of foreign policy leaders."
In the new issue of Esquire,
Jolie says she wants to be remembered for her humanitarian work, not her acting. "When I die, do I want to be remembered as an actress? No." she tells the magazine. "I recently had a column published in a newspaper and at the end it didn't say I was an actress. It said that I was a UN Goodwill Ambassador – that's all. And I was really proud."
For Jolie, her CFR membership is another big step in a path that began in 2001, when she first joined the United Nations refugee agency after visiting Cambodia while filming Tomb Raider,
the country where she also adopted her first child, Maddox. Since that time, Jolie has visited refugee camps in over 30 countries, and adopted two other children, Zahara, 2, from Ethiopia and Pax Thien, 3, from Vietnam. She and boyfriend Brad Pitt also have a 1-year-old daughter, Shiloh.