Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation 2021 - Forest Whitaker

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UNESCO celebrates Forest Whitaker's decade of action

On the 10th anniversary of his commitment for peace with UNESCO, the organization celebrates his action and impact for the service of humanity.

2022 - Cannes Palmes d'or

UNESCO congratulates Mr. Whitaker on his Palme d'Or, recognizing and thanking him for his efforts and his extraordinary performance as an example of extensive humanitarian work over the last decade. 

We look forward to continuing to share efforts, and to continue working towards this one goal of peace and reconciliation that surrounds our world, the only one we have. 

May our voice never stop and may we continue to contribute together to peace and reconciliation, helping our Youth and promoting education!

2022 - Interview with UNESCO Courier

The UNESCO Courier had the opportunity to interview Forest Whitaker, read our article "Forest Whitaker: “Empowerment has become central to my vision of the future”.

Forest Whitaker

Forest Whitaker:

“Empowerment has become central to my vision of the future”

2022 - International Peace Honors Tribute

Forest Whitaker received the 2022 International Peace Honors Prize. 

Forest Whitaker in Los Angeles

International Peace Honors

Forest Whitaker Tribute Video and Acceptance Speech

2021 - UNESCO's 75th anniversary

On the occasion of UNESCO’s 75th anniversary, Mr. Whitaker recalled how UNESCO, from its creation, envisioned a world where global conflicts would be defeated and people would see the beauty of peace. Seeing beauty brought to the world, both human and natural. He mentioned that UNESCO created the conditions for the dissemination of universal experiences so that peace would be obvious and war hideous.

He associated with UNESCO 10 years ago to act upon the ideal of building peace defenses in the minds of people.

 Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation 2021 - Forest Whitaker

Forest Whitaker

at UNESCO's 75th Anniversary

UNESCO's 75th anniversary
Forest Whitaker - UNESCO 75th anniversary
UNESCO's 75th anniversary
Forest Whitaker - UNESCO 75th anniversary
UNESCO's 75th anniversary
Forest Whitaker - UNESCO 75th anniversary
UNESCO's 75th anniversary
Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation 2021 - Forest Whitaker
UNESCO's 75th anniversary
 Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation 2021 - Forest Whitaker
UNESCO's 75th anniversary
Forest Whitaker - UNESCO 75th anniversary

2021 - Luanda Biennale for a culture of peace

Forest Whitaker mentioned that today is a momentous opportunity to express our convictions that peace should always prevail, despite the challenges that may arise. African countries and people are facing difficulties in coping with the impact of COVID-19. He paid particular attention to the fact that, for regions affected by fragility, the pandemic exacerbated existing tensions and created new ones.

Hence, he took the opportunity to make an appeal and to recall that “peace is never a given. Peace must be constantly nurtured through efforts by everyone.” That a culture of peace and non-violence must be fostered, a culture of prevention and reconciliation forged in a spirit of solidarity.

Forest Whitaker_Biennale of Luanda 2021

Forest Whitaker on the Culture of Peace

 Biennale of Luanda

Peace is never a given. Peace must be constantly nurtured through efforts by everyone.
Forest Whitaker Actor, UN SDG Advocate & UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation.

2016 - 2021 - Intervention in the UN Security Council

Forest Whitaker, after experiencing the situation of child soldiers during one of his filming, decided to support the UN campaign "Children, Not Soldiers".

Therefore, as a peace facilitator, as UNESCO's special envoy for peace and reconciliation, since 2016 he has been able to address the UN Security Council in order to be able to conduct the debate on children and armed conflict.

The UN debate is about children and the role they are playing in armed conflict, and thus ending and preventing their recruitment by government security forces. Mr. Whitaker has also expressed the importance of advocating for the reintegration and long-term care of child soldiers and conflict-affected youth around the world, who deserve a second chance at life, as he stated in June 2021.

Forest Whitaker in South Sudan

Forest Whitaker

on UN Resolution 2250 #ActOn2250

Young people, please share your thoughts, use your voice, act on 2250.
Forest Whitaker Actor, UN SDG Advocate & UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation.
Forest Whitaker at the UN Debate on Children and Armed Conflict
UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation, Forest Whitaker, addresses the Security Council

2014 - UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation

Forest Whitaker, for at least a decade, has devoted most of his time to extensive humanitarian work: as founder and CEO of the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, co-founder and president of the International Institute for Peace, UNESCO's special envoy for peace and reconciliation.

In addition, he traveled to South Sudan to help prevent the enrollment of child soldiers following his collaboration with the office of the UN representative for children and armed conflict as an advocate for war-affected children.

Forest Whitaker in Uganda

UNESCO's Special Envoy

Forest Whitaker humanitarian work on the ground

Forest Whitaker is an example of humanitarian work,

as he has had the opportunity over several years to experience on the ground, to be deeply touched by meeting the people, to hear their stories, to witness their fine sense of compassion, their kindness, and the value they place on life despite their circumstances, their living conditions and their daily challenges. We have witnessed how he has worked to promote courage and resilience in people.

That is why we want to emphasize that together with Mr. Whitaker, we do not stop working for future generations, the future of a better life, based on peace, love, respect, where the best of humanity can be shared and elevated.

Forest Whitaker in South Sudan

UNESCO would like to remark that it is essential to understand that with each passing year it is important to act, not to slow down and keep working to create the means and resources for people, to prevent them from reaching a point where they can no longer cope. Let us not allow education to be interrupted and distorted when it is an essential right for every person, everywhere in the world. Let us prevent people's hopes from being shattered and a future taken away from them.

Throughout the last decade of working with Mr. Whitaker, we have been keen to recognize that there are people in the world who need our help, but they also need to know that we are there trying to help them, doing everything we can to support them and create change in their lives. Let us not stop now and instead let us work harder, trying to reach out to our young people, women and men, children, let us reach out to them to share the message and create in them a spirit of willingness to change, to create their future, to rebuild a peace-building mindset, filled with positivity and where world peace preservers, where there is no place for conflict.

Humanity deserves our commitment, let us commit ourselves for as long as it is needed.

Forest Whitaker's work in the field

Forest Whitaker in South Sudan
Forest Whitaker in South Sudan
Forest Whitaker in Los Angeles
Forest Whitaker in South Africa
Forest Whitaker in South Sudan
Forest Whitaker in South Sudan
Forest Whitaker in Uganda
Forest Whitaker in Uganda
Forest Whitaker in Uganda
Forest Whitaker in Uganda
Forest Whitaker in South Sudan
Forest Whitaker in South Sudan

2013 - A call for Peace & Reconciliation in South Sudan

Following the events of December 2013 in South Sudan, Forest Whitaker appealed to the youth, asking them to keep working to build the future of South Sudan and not to give up, to keep fighting for their dreams until they build the life they want, because thanks to them it is possible.

He reminded them that the youth is the nation of tomorrow, that the youth are the future of the nation.

Forest Whitaker in South Sudan

UNESCO's Forest Whitaker Call

for Peace and Reconciliation in South Sudan

I appeal to you specifically, the young, the boys and girls, the woman and man in South Sudan, because you have the courage of your youth and because you have your future to gain.
Forest Whitaker Actor, UN SDG Advocate & UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation.

2012 - Conflict and Reconciliation in Northern Uganda

Peace and reconciliation have been his drive for years. It is no secret that before joining forces with UNESCO, Mr. Whitaker was already doing some humanitarian work in Africa, more specifically in Northern Uganda with child soldiers for at least 4 years before being designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

Forest Whitaker in Uganda

Conflict and Reconciliation:

Forest Whitaker talks from Hope North

2012 - Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI)

President of the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI). There he champions the Youth Peacemaker Network (YPN) programme, aiming to promote peace and reconciliation with educational tools in areas affected by conflict and violence. WPDI works together with UNESCO in South Sudan, Uganda and Mexico. In 2012, WPDI launched the Conflict Resolution Education (CRE) programme in the United States, contributing to the development of youth leadership and cohesion in schools. In South Sudan, for example, WPDI trained former child soldiers and orphans to become peacemakers in their communities. 

WPDI

Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative

2011 - Youth, a voice for change!

In 2011, Forest Whitaker, as part of his role as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, had the opportunity to share with young people during the Youth Forum at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

During this Forum, Whitaker collaborated with UNESCO to give voice to young people as "A voice for change" and worked to engage with them as partners in promoting peace and reconciliation around the world. Also, to recognize the power they have to drive positive change in their communities, to shape our society, as they are the present and they are the future of humanity.

Forest Whitaker in South Sudan

Forest Whitaker and UNESCO

want to give youth a voice

2011 - Nomination as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador

Forest Whitaker was designated as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation in June 2011.

Since then, he has been an active supporter of UNESCO values, considering education as a vector of peace in the United States and around the world.

Forest Whitaker nomination Goodwill Ambassador June 2011

Forest Whitaker

designated as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador

The history of Forest Whitaker's joining forces with UNESCO began over 10 years ago, when he was designated Goodwill Ambassador and special envoy for peace and reconciliation in June of 2011.

This relationship came about organically, as there was a common understanding of the ideal of achieving peace and, in his own words, having high hopes for advancing humanity and moving us forward.

Forest Whitaker was designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in recognition of his efforts to highlight education as a power to promote peace and reconciliation between and within communities. His humanitarian and artistic commitments to action aiming to foster reconciliation and non-violence with the view to building peace and for his dedication to the ideals and aims of the Organization.
Designation photo gallery
Forest Whitaker nomination Goodwill Ambassador June 2011
Designation photo gallery
Forest Whitaker nomination Goodwill Ambassador June 2011
Designation photo gallery
Forest Whitaker nomination Goodwill Ambassador June 2011
Designation photo gallery
Forest Whitaker nomination Goodwill Ambassador June 2011
Designation photo gallery
Forest Whitaker nomination Goodwill Ambassador June 2011
Designation photo gallery
Forest Whitaker nomination Goodwill Ambassador June 2011

Dedicated articles from UNESCO Courier

The Courage of Peace

UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation Read the Message from Forest Whitaker,

Child soldiers: a new life ahead - Forest Whitaker

Resources

Podcast - The Accidental Activist

Listen to Isha Sesay and Forest Whitaker talk about his acting career as well as his career in activism.

CNN Interview - 2021

Watch the interview about his efforts to empower young people and his activism over the years.

Children, Not Soldiers
Forest Whitaker Bio