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ABOUT FOREST WHITAKER
Forest Whitaker has long been known as one of Hollywood’s most accomplished and versatile actors, having received the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2007 for his portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland.” What may be less well-known is his social activism. Believing that communities and nations must heed the voices of their diverse and vibrant youth, Forest Whitaker established the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative, which is committed to providing educational tools and better living conditions to young women and men living in regions touched by violence, war, and poverty.
In addition to serving as founder and CEO of Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, Mr. Whitaker is co-founder and chair of the International Institute for Peace, has been designated a UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation, and, in 2016, was appointed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Advocacy Group.
Mr. Whitaker’s artistic and humanitarian contributions have been widely recognized at home and abroad. In 2001, he was awarded theHumanitas Prize. In 2007, he received the Cinema for Peace Award for his ongoing advocacy for child soldiers and his work with inner-city youth. In 2008, he was a member of President Obama’s Urban Policy Committee. In 2012, in recognition of his contributions to the values embodied by the United Nations, Mr. Whitaker received the United Nations Correspondents Association’s Advocate of the Year Award. In 2013, Boston University’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center named him a Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellow. That same year, he was made a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government in recognition of his work serving those affected by conflicts and violence. In 2014, he started collaborating with the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict as an Advocate for Children Affected by War, a topic on which he was invited to speak before the UN Security Council in September of that year.
Mr. Whitaker believes that ordinary people can and must come together to change the world. In his own words, “Even a seemingly small action can cause ripples that make an enormous impact."
The Southern California Mediation Association is honored to present its 2015 Cloke-Millen Peacemaker of the Year Award to Forest Whitaker.