Actor Forest Whitaker in Uganda to Empower Youths in Post-Conflict Areas

U.S actor and film director, information pills Forest Whitaker is in Uganda on a visit that is meant to empower young people in post conflict areas to fully realize and utilize their potential.

He will participate in a series of activities to support young people from Northern Uganda and South Sudan on aspects like life skills, discount peace, advice education, business training as well as safe and inclusive education.

The initiative is in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He arrived in Uganda on Tuesday along with the UN Assistant Director General for Social and Human Sciences Nada Al-Nashif on a partnership mission between the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI), a nongovernmental organization founded by Forest Whitaker.

The Award winning Hollywood actor is popular for role in 2006 historical drama film ‘The Last King of Scotland’ in which he played former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.

Besides his acting career, Whitaker is a UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation and also an advocate for youth.

“I am happy to be here to see the work we are doing with young people,” Whitaker told the press on Wednesday morning before leaving for Kiryandongo District. He will be in the country for a week, for the second time now.

“This is an exciting first moment to meet the youths in Kiryandongo to share stories, philosophies and mechanism in order to move forward,” he added.

He mentioned that while the SDGs were designed as a bottom to top approach, there’s great need to simplify them and raise more awareness for the masses to better understand them.

Victoria Kisakye, the Project Coordinator of UNESCO in Uganda told ChimpReports that the team will visit refugee resettlement camps in Gulu and conduct training workshops for the young people at the Hope North centre in Kiryandongo. Hope North runs a program a under the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative.

The team came with a crew that will document success stories from young people whom they have been supporting.

“Some have started businesses and others have been able to go back to school. These documentaries will then be shared with other youths in conflict affected areas elsewhere and partners so they understand the possibilities that come with supporting young people,” Kisakye said in a telephone interview.

She said the visit is significant adding;

“He (Whitaker) has been a peace mediator on a number of fronts including supporting the government of South Sudan in its peace making process.”

“His visit is very instrumental in ensuring that conflicts within countries neighbouring Uganda are resolved so as to reduce the refugee influx,” she said.

Uganda currently hosts over 700,000 South Sudanese refugees who fled the country after violence broke out in 2013 and later in July 2016. UN estimates that 300,000 more refugees will pour into Uganda in 2017.

“For those refugees that are already in the host country, this initiative is important in making sure that the skills and potential they possess do not go to waste,” Kisakye told ChimpReports.


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