Actor Forest Whitaker to be named Goodwill Ambassador by UNESCO

Forest Whitaker, speaking at a UNESCO-organized panel earlier this year

16 June 2011 – The United Nations cultural and education agency will next week designate the award-winning Hollywood actor Forest Whitaker as a Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation in recognition of his commitment to using cinema to promote humanitarian ideals.

Born in the United States in 1961, Mr. Whitaker’s screen work includes the film Better Angels, a film about Ugandan child soldiers, and Common Destiny, a documentary about achieving peace and mutual understanding and the power of education in promoting peace and reconciliation.

As a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Mr. Whitaker will champion the agency’s priorities, including mobilising decision-makers globally to support youth programmes on education for peace, human rights and global citizenship.

Mr. Whitaker will be the keynote speaker at a Youth Forum during UNESCO’s 36th General Conference in October. He will also introduce documentary and other advocacy films on the theme of peace and reconciliation.

The actor has also been associated with organizations supporting abused teenagers and animal rights.

Some of Mr. Whitaker’s best-known performances include his role as the jazzman Charlie Parker in Bird, for which he was awarded the best actor prize at the Cannes film festival in 1989, and as the former Ugandan despot Idi Amin in Last King of Scotland, for which he received an Academy Award in 2006.


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