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Forest Whitaker: From actor to ambassador

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 00:44

Jan. 14 - The Oscar-winner brings his Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative to children in Tijuana city. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)

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Oscar-winning actor and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Forest Whitaker works with young people in Baja California who have been affected by violence. ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker was in Mexico on Sunday (January 12) where he brought his humanitarian message of peace and harmony to children who have experienced violence. Whitaker is UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation and was in Baja California, to put the finishing touches on a training programme that aims to help young people affected by violence in urban areas. The programme is part of the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI). Called the Harmonizer Programme, youngsters were taught to encourage social change in their communities through leadership. The course focuses on teaching them leadership skills, with the help from life coaching, during a period of three years. The same project has already been established in South Sudan and Uganda. Whitaker said the training provided tools to encourage personal empowerment and leadership skills to help the youth build peaceful and resilient communities. "The wellness programme I will be working on for a while and then I'll be working on a life coaching programme. Because as a life coach I'll be working with them for the next number of years. At the same time we started teaching them about how to deal with stress and trauma. So we give them tools of movement and we give them tools of meditation so that they will be able to deal with trauma or stress in their environment, be able to think clearly so they can make the proper decisions to be able to help their communities, or help themselves or move though conflict," he explained. The programme will also be available online. Whitaker gave the training course to 34 young women and men from the different communities of the Tijuana city. The training took place at Rancho Ojai in Tecate from 7 to 12 January 2014 and covered fields such as conflict resolution, leadership, peace and community-building, wellness and life skills. Whitaker has been working with local authorities to encourage the ongoing learning and use of the programme. Over the next two years, the programme anticipates expanding to other Mexican cities.

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Forest Whitaker: From actor to ambassador

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 00:44

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