Forest Whitaker’s Non-Profit Thinks Tech Will Bring Peace to Africa
PeaceEarth, a digital-first project, aims to create a network of “peace builders” by educating youth in war-torn areas across the world on the topic of conflict resolution. More specifically, it strives to teach how technology and new communication tools can be used to promote a global message of well-being. It was founded by actor and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Forest Whitaker.
“We’re internationally focused on engaging, empowering and inspiring people to understand there are different ways of thinking to move through the world,” said Meggan Lennon, executive coordinator of the organization. “We want to create a resource so students can see the bigger picture.”
The group launched back in Sept. 2012 during Mashable‘s Social Good Summit, where Whitaker spoke on a panel about technology and its role in easing tension across territories in conflict. Since its launch, the group has held two training sessions overseas (in Uganda and one in the newly formed nation of South Sudan) and is planning to return for two more workshops in June.
The group visited 35 students at each school, where everyone was given a laptop and Ericsson provided broadband service.
Whitaker, who won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2006 for his portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland, was present for both workshops. He told Mashable in an email that students at both schools were not just interested, but captivated by the technology introduced.
“In both instances, the students said the technology was one of the highlights of the program because it allowed them to connect with others in their respective communities and other parts of the world,” he said.
“Students were aware they had been stuck in an ‘information gap,’ but with access to the Internet, they would no longer be disconnected.”