Forest Whitaker, artist and social activist, is the founder and CEO of the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI), whose mission is to empower young women and men to become leaders, peacemakers and entrepreneurs in their communities through a unique conflict resolution and peace building program, combined with innovative use of technology and skills building. Mr Whitaker is also the UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation, and a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Advocacy Group. In 2014, he started collaborating with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, a topic on which he was invited to speak before the Security Council in September of that year.
Whitaker is also one of Hollywood’s most accomplished and versatile figures, having received the 2007 Academy Award for Best Actor. Through WPDI, he has developed the Youth Peacemaker Network, a global peacebuilding social network with hubs in South Sudan, South Africa, Uganda, and Mexico. He and WPDI are committed to providing educational tools and economic opportunities to young women and men in regions touched by violence and armed conflict.