updated 04/23/2012 AT 10:00 AM ET
•originally published 04/23/2012 AT 11:25 AM ET
After jetting to the Galépagos Islands last week after she and Brad Pitt announced their wedding engagement, Angelina Jolie resumed her humanitarian work, this time in her new role as a Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
Over the weekend, while their six children remained in the Galépagos, Jolie (whose former UNHCR title, for more than a decade, was goodwill ambassador) spent time with refugees by the San Miguel River, in Ecuador.
“Her work does go substantially beyond what we would typically see as being the normal role of a goodwill ambassador,” Geneva-based UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards told reporters late last week, noting that Special Envoys are unpaid positions.
“I don’t think you need a rocket scientist to see the benefits that she is bringing in terms of the attention that she is getting for the plight of the world’s displaced,” Edwards added.
In Ecuador, Jolie’s activities included meeting with farmers as well as Colombian refugees.
While in the Galépagos, Jolie, Pitt and their children – Maddox, 10, Pax, 8, Zahara, 7, Shiloh, 5, and twins Vivienne and Knox, 3 – spent their time exploring different islands on the 90-foot Reina Silvia, as well as relaxing at their luxury oceanside villa.
“The kids were very excited every day. They saw many wild animals, including turtles, iguanas and tropic birds,” a source tells PEOPLE. “The boat tours were all very relaxing and fun for them. Brad and Angelina looked very happy together. It seemed to be a great family vacation.”