Since becoming a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2000, Mia Farrow has been a vocal advocate for women’s equality and human rights reform in Africa. In an interview with Five Books, the actress and activist spoke on the all-importance of education to affect change:

“There are signs of the beginning of change but it won’t be fast enough for my satisfaction. In my view patience is hugely overrated. I am not sure it is a virtue at all! Again, we come back to the goal of education. Change won’t happen without education.”

Naming the five books she recommends on changing the world for the better, Farrow’s picks cover mass genocide, gender oppression, and the triumph of the human spirit. Find Mia Farrow’s reading list below.


Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

“Sadly, in much of the world life is not better for women and girls. But I think there is a growing awareness in developing countries and I have seen clear evidence of that. There are strong women everywhere and many, even in the most remote corners of the world, are taking a very strong stand. Still, too many women and girls are sentenced to a life of hardship, deprivation and oppression.” -MF

We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch

“Philip Gourevitch has written a riveting book about the Rwandan genocide and the title is part of a note to his pastor from a man who knew he was going to be killed the next day. This book examines the darkest side of human beings. As the mother of many children, including seven sons I realise the importance of bringing up my sons to find peaceful resolutions to conflict – the reality is that it is men who are the violent perpetrators. This killing component is very likely responsible for the survival of the human species over many, many centuries. But now our weaponry has succeeded our wisdom and we have not evolved away from the brutality that was useful to early human beings.” -MF

Worse than War by Daniel Goldhagen

“In Worse than War, Goldhagen lays out the elements; in order for genocide to take place, certain key components must be present: a leader with a political agenda who is able to use people’s existing fears, grievances, convictions or prejudices to convince them that another group poses a threat to their own security and well-being. Details are organised and put into action. Ordinary people choose to participate. Those with the power to halt the killing choose to do nothing.” -MF

The Responsibility to Protect by Gareth Evans

“In the book Mr Evans lays out practical ways to avoid genocide and the slaughter of innocents. Military intervention is only the very last resort and only if the benefits outweigh the likely negative effects of such an intervention. Rather, he focuses on the ‘toolboxes’ respected emissaries might bring to the table in dialogue with warring parties. A brilliant example is Kenya. When the church and homes were burnt in the Rift Valley and Kenya appeared to be moving towards uncontrollable violence, Kofi Annan and other respected leaders went to Kenya and were able to bring about the fragile peace that has held thus far. The ‘toolbox’ or sticks and carrots a dignitary might be authorised to bring to the table would depend on the country and its needs, whether it be loans or trade agreements or whatever. It is an excellent, practical and scholarly book which should be essential reading for all world leaders.” -MF

Tears of the Desert by Halima Bashir

“This is a brave book. And a valuable one. Halima’s story of the atrocities and immeasurable losses she has endured must be told.” -MF

(via Five Books)

Categories: Activists Actors

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