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Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker wants peace to become a mechanism he builds into people, through his new initiative, PeaceEarth, which he officially launched on International Peace Day (21 September). Taking to the stage at the 2012 Social Good Summit, he elaborated on how he sees technology playing into this initiative, and how it’s going to help him create a model to build peace within individuals that will spread to world.
“We’re living in a time that’s never been before; where it’s actually possible for change to come,” said an impassioned Whitaker. “There wasn’t a time like this before where we had the tools and technology to help make the world a better place. It’s our time. It’s on us. I’m just trying to participate to connect in this journey we’re all on this spaceship called Earth.”
Whitaker, who’s passion for Uganda was stirred when he filmed The Last King of Scotland, has created the digital non-profit organization to educate and empower peace-builders on issues of conflict resolution and peace-creation. PeaceEarth will engage with people living in war-torn societies, such as Sudan and South Sudan, on its website (PeaceEarth.com) and through social media.
It will deliver a wide range of content, including sermons about peace from the Dalai Lama, as well as lectures about conflict resolution and peace-building from experts and professors. Whitaker sees the website becoming a nexus where people can help support the peace-builders, give them resources and a create the “beginning of a dialogue.”
During a roundtable discussion held during the summit, Whitaker spoke about the need for people to care about each other, and to use social media to do this:
I see computers and the Internet as an evolution. It moves into the mystical and spiritual. In one second, we can touch a million people, and even move them. We’re all holding these [cellphones and laptops], but we think of them as things, not a part of ourselves. But if you look at them as an organic being, they become a new attribute that we have. This phone is a part of me. I think we’re evolving to understand that these things are part of us. As I wave my hand across here, it goes and touches you.