Revered in Africa for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, acclaimed actor Forest Whitaker is now taking on the challenges facing Horn of Africa by engaging young people in South Sudan and Uganda on various series of activities to offer support, training and guidance.
As a new nation, South Sudan has the dual challenge of dealing with the legacy of more than 50 years of conflict and continued instability, along with huge development needs – (World Bank Group).
Uganda has one of the world’s youngest populations, half of them under the age of 15 years. The fertility rate is estimated at 5.7 children per woman (2015), and with a 3.3% population growth the dependency ratio is high with significant consequences for national development. – (World Bank Group).
According to a press release by the organization, Education Above All (EAA) Foundation, through their legal advocacy program, Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict (PEIC), and the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) are currently in Kiryandongo to equip former child soldiers and young people affected by conflict from across Uganda and South Sudan with skills in leadership, mediation and entrepreneurship.
Forest Whitaker, who is UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation and SDG Advocate for the UN, will deliver training during the five-day workshop, along with a range of experts, including leading law professor and PEIC Director Dr Maleiha Malik. The aim is to train a new generation of leaders and to provide an opportunity for them to share their experiences, knowledge and expertise on human rights, entrepreneurship and the importance of education to others in their local communities.
By building such a holistic combination of formal knowledge and applied skills, both organisations seek to strengthen the capacity of these young women and men to act in the service of their communities as mediators, entrepreneurs, human rights advocates and, in a nutshell, engineers of hope. The aim is promote education to achieve peace, human rights and sustainable development as key drivers of more peaceful and just societies and more open and inclusive economies.
Maleiha Malik, Professor of Law, King’s College London and Academic Advisory Director, PEIC said,
“In a region that continues to be beset by local tensions and conflict, it is critical that we teach, train and empower the next generation to build a bright future for themselves and their country. It is more important than ever that the world community work together to uphold the principle of legal accountability for grave violations of international law and defend the mandate of the International Criminal Court.