Empowering Youth, Enabling Peace

The Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) was founded in 2012 by artist, social activist, and UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation Forest Whitaker. It aims to promote the values of peace, reconciliation, and social development within communities impacted by conflict and violence.

In areas of the world affected by violence and poverty, WPDI works closely with youths to empower them as conflict mediators and community builders who become local partners in the pursuit of peace and sustainable development. WPDI’s peace building, outreach, and educational programs impact hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.


Specifically, their goals include:


Empowering youths

To support a new generation of youth leaders and community builders by training young people in peace building, conflict mediation, business and entrepreneurship, and information and communications technology (ICT).


Strengthening communities

To encourage innovation and development of youth-led small businesses and other projects to help communities grow, thrive, and overcome obstacles to break perpetual cycles of violence.


Promoting education and connectivity

To build hubs of learning, connectivity, and engagement through a network of Community Learning Centers (CLCs) at which people have the ability to access knowledge and the Internet.


Disseminating peace

To spread the values of peace, dialogue, tolerance, and inclusion – and to raise awareness of global injustices – around the world. Through so doing, WPDI seeks to help communities affected by conflict become more resilient, peaceful, and prosperous.

In recent news, the Global Citizen Forum and Whitaker PDI are collaborating on a new documentary film, Peace Pioneers, which aims to shed light on the positive face of South Sudan. A few miles from the war zones, people work daily to nurture seeds of peace and a feeling of normalcy. Our team will follow some of them as they work to plant seeds of peace in their communities.

Every country faces its own set of challenges. Yet tolerance, compassion, human rights, and respect are universal values that can take root in any community, especially when their members feel empowered and respected. WPDI works for and with youths around the world to achieve just that. Discover the WPDI's Countries of Action.

Our work is guided by the philosophy that people are better able to create transformative change when they work together.