Forest Whitaker Deepens Investment in Lives of Former Child Soldiers and Refugees in S. Sudan and Uganda

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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.

Sessions will focus on:
The development of new enterprises and local economic development;
Conflict resolution to understand how to bring conflicting parties back together;
International law to provide children, youth and communities at large with a full understanding of their rights;
The Sustainable Development Goals and the practice of future-oriented methodologies;
The right to education and the importance of protecting it in contexts of conflict and disaster;
Accountability and the role of the International Criminal Court.
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.
“Education is a human right. This workshop is the first of many that Education Above All, through its programme PEIC, is delivering with the WPDI to inspire hope within children who have lived through conflict and terrible hardship. Only by equipping children and young people with the knowledge they need to build a better future for themselves – and for their country – can we start to rebuild and reconstruct communities”.

Forest Whitaker said, “The young people we are gathering at this training have been active peace leaders for some time now through our Youth Peacemaker Network program. They have already accomplished a lot for their communities. This week is not just about teaching them things they do not know.

It is also a time for us to listen to them, to learn from their stories. As they grow in confidence and experience, I feel that I receive more and more from them.”

The partnership between WPDI and EAA was established in 2016 at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.


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