Forest Whitaker believes that, in order to attain peace and prosperity, communities and nations must heed the voices of their diverse and vibrant youths. He is the founder and CEO of the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI). Through WPDI, he has developed the Youth Peacemaker Network, a global peacebuilding social network with hubs in South Sudan, South Africa, Uganda, the United States, and Mexico. He and WPDI are committed to providing educational tools and economic opportunities to young women and men in regions affected by conflict and armed conflict.
Forest Whitaker is also co-founder of the International Institute for Peace, UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation, and a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Advocacy Group. He is dedicated to cultivating youths’ artistic talents. As a member of former President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, he also worked closely with elementary school students to demonstrate the limitless power of the arts to express their voices and creative energies.
True to his belief in the potential of youths, Forest Whitaker works, through his production company, Significant Productions, to support young, talented filmmakers. He views film as a medium that can enlighten people across the globe. He has produced several award-winning documentaries that touch on a wide range of social issues.