Actor Forest Whitaker will receive the University of San Diego's Medal of Peace at a ceremony Thursday night, as the Dalai Lama and Martin Sheen have done before him.
Whitaker was selected to receive the honor in recognition of his international humanitarian work. The Emmy and Oscar winner in 2012 founded the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, which develops peace-building programs and campaigns that aim to foster peace and reconciliation in disadvantaged and fragile communities throughout the world. Among the tools used by the organization are vocational training, conflict resolution, communications instruction, meditation and youth-led community projects to help achieve lasting peace, according to USD. Whitaker is also a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization special envoy for peace and reconciliation.
"This year, as we mark the tenth anniversary since the founding of the Kroc School (of Peace Studies) at the University of San Diego, we wanted to recognize someone who has had a tremendous impact on the lives of thousands of men, women, and children globally," said Kroc Dean Patricia Marquez. "While Mr. Whitaker is well known for his award-winning work in front of the camera, far fewer people know about the phenomenal work he has done through the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative. We wanted to shine a light on his global work, and thank him for his fearless leadership.''
The Dalai Lama in 2012 was given the Catholic university's award and actor Marin Sheen has received it three times, including in 2007, along with Ken Hackett, the president of Catholic Relief Services.
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