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Forest Whitaker’s peace-building work around the world

Larry King NowFeb 14 '18

Oscar winner Forest Whitaker opens up about his other passion, as the head of an organization that trains youth in conflict resolution and community building around the world.


Larry King: With the UN, you work in conflict resolution. What do you do? 

Forest Whitaker: I do, I work as a special envoy for peace and reconciliation for UNESCO and the UN. But I actually have an organization called the WPDI, which is Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative, and we work in training youths across the world in conflict resolution and helping them become, moving from peace builders to community builders or development people; we're like operating out of South Sudan, we have a very large program, we have thousands of people that we work with there. We also have a program in the refugee camps in Uganda. We work with mostly South Sudanese refugees that are coming in, and in the north of Uganda to help people get the skills to be able to structure and move forward their lives. 

Larry King: How'd you get started in that? 

Forest Whitaker: I think it started when I was younger, when I was trying to understand conflict with gang violence and stuff, and dealing with some of the gang members and stuff, but then it opened up, actually, when I was in Uganda, and I met some child soldiers there, and I started with an orphanage there, and as I started working there, I started to see the problems and the needs and I started to work there, and we also have a program in Mexico, we're in Tijuana and in Chiapas. We have a program now in the LA city schools where we put conflict resolution education inside of the core curriculum of the school system, so we just started that program, it's our pilot with LA city schools.