Angelina Jolie and Son Maddox Attend State Dinner with President Biden and South Korean President

The dinner "celebrates the 70th anniversary of the U.S.–ROK alliance," according to an official release from the White House

Anna Moneymaker/Getty
Anna Moneymaker/Getty

Angelina Jolie and son Maddox made it to Washington, D.C. for a special occasion.

The actress and humanitarian, 47, was on hand, accompanied by Maddox, 21, for a state dinner at the White House Wednesday, where President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden hosted South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and First Lady Kim Keon Hee.

A source close to Jolie tells PEOPLE, "Asia-America relations are important to Angelina's family. She and the children have had close ties to the region, including South Korea, for many years. Maddox studied at Yonsei University in Seoul. Angelina has visited South Korea many times for her humanitarian and refugee advocacy over the past two decades, and as an artist. Angelina and Maddox are honored to attend this State Dinner."


Jolie wore a vintage Chanel jacket and a dress that was made for her many years ago, as well as her personal jewelry, the source says.

Other famous names in attendance at the dinner included Chip and Joanna Gaines and Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim.

Jolie last visited Seoul in 2019, when Maddox started at Yonsei University, and in 2018, when she met refugees on behalf of the UN Refugee Agency. The book she co-authored on youth rights with Amnesty International, Know Your Rights and Claim Them, was published in South Korea last year.

A White House press release last month stated the visit from the South Korean leader and his wife "celebrates the 70th anniversary of the U.S.-ROK alliance, which is critical to advancing peace, stability and prosperity for our two countries, the Indo-Pacific and around the world."

Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty
Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty

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Related: Bidens Gift Nostalgic Baseball Memorabilia, Symbolic Necklace to South Korean President Ahead of State Dinner

"President Biden and President Yoon will highlight the importance and enduring strength of the ironclad U.S.-ROK alliance as well as the United States' unwavering commitment to the ROK," the press release continued. "The Presidents will discuss our shared resolve to deepen and broaden our political, economic, security and people-to-people ties."

Anna Moneymaker/Getty
Anna Moneymaker/Getty

As their official gift to the couple ahead of Wednesday's state dinner, the Bidens presented a small, handcrafted table made out of mahogany wood and inlaid with historical White House wood. The table, made by an American furniture-maker, was inspired by traditional Korean soban tables, the White House told PEOPLE.

It included a brass plaque commemorating the state visit and was topped with a vase filled with handmade paper hibiscus and rose flowers by a Korean-American artist.

The White House noted that the hibiscus is the national flower of the Republic of Korea and the rose is the national flower of the United States, with the bouquet symbolizing the long-lasting diplomatic relationship between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea.

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Though she continues to be heavily involved in humanitarian efforts, Jolie stepped away from her role as a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Special Envoy late last year.

The Oscar winner said at the time that she is "grateful for the privilege and opportunity I have had to work with so many outstanding and dedicated UNHCR field officers and other colleagues doing lifesaving work globally, and to serve as Special Envoy."

"I will continue to do everything in my power in the years to come to support refugees and other displaced people," Jolie continued. "After 20 years working within the UN system I feel it is time for me to work differently, engaging directly with refugees and local organizations, and supporting their advocacy for solutions."

A source close to the actress told PEOPLE Jolie "decided to leave UNHCR so she can devote more of her efforts to supporting groups led by those most directly affected by conflict, to help empower them and lift their voices and leadership." She has worked with locally led organizations like the MJP Foundation in Cambodia, which she founded back in 2003.

"She will be more effective as an outsider," the source added. "She always has been like that, and more with the people than the system."

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