Forest Whitaker: Work together as a unit to resolve global problems

By Helen Morgan 22 June 2016

Forest Whitaker talks with Devex President and Editor-in-Chief Raj Kumar about the ecosystem of partnerships that helped him build the Whitaker Peace and Reconciliation Initiative.

An ecosystem of partnerships can help humanitarian initiatives to flourish. This was one of the takeaways from last month’s World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, where stakeholders from across the humanitarian sector gathered to discuss a sustainable future for work in fragile states.

Forest Whitaker — social activist, United Nations envoy for Peace and Reconciliation and Oscar-winning actor — is no stranger to working across sectors to build partnerships. He founded the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative in 2012 and has worked with private sector actors including Ericsson and MasterCard to support peacebuilding in communities impacted by conflict, primarily in South Sudan.

Whitaker shared insight about how these partnerships have evolved in an exclusive conversation with Devex President and Editor-in-Chief Raj Kumar.

It’s about “recognizing that together as a unit we can resolve these problems,” Whitaker said, adding that building partnerships does not only include the private sector or United Nations agencies, but also means working with local community leaders who will provide support, protection and security.

Watch the video above for more from Whitaker on creating computer literacy hubs, youth training schemes, and what motivated him to engage in peacebuilding work.

Following the World Humanitarian Summit, Devex — along with its partners Deloitte, Ericsson, United Nations Development Programme, and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs — have come together for #ShareHumanity. This six-week online conversation explores the role the private sector plays in humanitarian relief efforts, preparedness and response, both now and in the future.

Use #ShareHumanity and tag @devex to have your say.

About the author

Helen cropped
Helen Morgan

Helen Morgan is an editorial associate at Devex. She has a background in human rights, radio and journalism, and has written for a variety of international publications while living and working in Buenos Aires, New York and Shanghai. She is now based in Barcelona and supports editorial content on campaigns and media partnerships at Devex. She is currently studying a master's degree in contemporary migration.


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