Friday, 29 of September 2017
El Gouna, 28th September, 2017- Renowned global Artist Forest Whitaker and Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris announced at a press conference held on the sidelines of El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) their commitment to join forces in war-torn South Sudan to empower young women and men as catalysts of peace and development in their communities. To this effect, Mr. Naguib Sawiris is entering a partnership with the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI), a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 2012 by Forest Whitaker to harness the potential of vulnerable youth for peace through mediation, non-violence, reconciliation and entrepreneurship in fragile contexts. Mr. Sawiris has pledged support to the activities of the WPDI in South Sudan.
Share

Naguib Sawiris Partners with Artist and Activist Forest Whitaker to Mobilize Young People of South Sudan in the Service of Peace

El Gouna, 28th September, 2017- Renowned global Artist Forest Whitaker and Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris announced at a press conference held on the sidelines of El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) their commitment to join forces in war-torn South Sudan to empower young women and men as catalysts of peace and development in their communities. To this effect, Mr. Naguib Sawiris is entering a partnership with the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI), a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 2012 by Forest Whitaker to harness the potential of vulnerable youth for peace through mediation, non-violence, reconciliation and entrepreneurship in fragile contexts. Mr. Sawiris has pledged support to the activities of the WPDI in South Sudan.

El Gouna, 28th September, 2017- Renowned global Artist Forest Whitaker and Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris announced at a press conference held on the sidelines of El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) their commitment to join forces in war-torn South Sudan to empower young women and men as catalysts of peace and development in their communities. To this effect, Mr. Naguib Sawiris is entering a partnership with the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI), a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 2012 by Forest Whitaker to harness the potential of vulnerable youth for peace through mediation, non-violence, reconciliation and entrepreneurship in fragile contexts. Mr. Sawiris has pledged support to the activities of the WPDI in South Sudan.

 

Based in Los Angeles, WPDI works through a global network of local hubs in South Sudan, Uganda, Mexico, and South Africa. The organization seeks to make a difference on the ground by educating, equipping and mobilizing young leaders through a combination of strategies, including capacity-building, developing connectivity and providing support to economic (financial inclusion) and cultural community projects in communities impacted by conflict. Trainings provided by WPDI rely on a unique mix of peace building, conflict resolution, mediation, life skills, vocational training, and information and communications technology (ICT) skills. As UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation, Forest Whitaker believes that education is key to disseminate values of peace and non-violence.

 

WPDI is implementing its flagship program, the Youth Peacemaker Network (YPN), in South Sudan since 2012 and has chosen to remain in the country despite an ongoing civil war that displaced nearly 4,000,000 people and exposed another 6 million to food insecurity. Forest Whitaker’s teams are working with passionate young women and men to help their communities on their path to peace, reconciliation and resilience. A key part of their action is to spur development in a country that has been racked by conflict. Despite the challenges they face, these youths labour tirelessly on behalf of their neighbours and fellow citizens to cultivate a new culture of peace in South Sudan, one, it is hoped, that will reverse generations-old cycles of violence.

 

Mr. Whitaker said: “South Sudanese people have experienced war for 43 years in the last 62. Conflict in this country is like a chronic disease that we cannot treat if our mind set is simply to address emergency after emergency, intervention after intervention. We need to work with the people of South Sudan so they can prepare a future of peace for themselves and by themselves. With the support of Naguib, we will give young women and men of South Sudan an opportunity to become a vanguard of lasting peace and sustainable development. Our resources will propel their ambition to help their communities out of conflict, fragility and poverty.”

 

Mr. Naguib Sawiris has always had a soft spot for the people of Sudan, whether in the North or the South. Like many Egyptians, Mr. Sawiris feels a strong bond between Egyptians and Sudanese people, who until recent history were considered one nation. His eagerness to support the work of WPDI in South Sudan comes as a continuation of a long history of social work in Sudan. In 2004, Sawiris funded and led a humanitarian mission to provide relief to widows and orphans most affected by the civil war in South Sudan. He also funded the establishment of an Integrated School for children from KG-Level to High School. The Integrated school project in North Bor County included a library, dorms for students and housing for teachers. As part of the efforts to develop the area, he financed the design and studies for an Integrated Hospital. In the years 2013-2015, through his mining company operating in Sudan, Mr. Sawiris supported flood relief efforts in Sudan and endorsed a big range of developmental and community support activities in the Red Sea Hills desert area in North-Eastern Sudan, including medical facilities, educational facilities, women and youth training centres, water and electricity supply, and communication services.

 

Mr. Sawiris said: “The recent events in South Sudan cause a lot of pain to anyone with a heart. The work done there by Forest and his teams is very important to give hope for a better future to people in a state of humanitarian crisis following a three-year civil war that resulted in the displacement of millions and the death of thousands. Through unique programs to nurture a new generation of young leaders, his foundation is working to cultivate peace and stimulate development, and I am very proud to partner with them to support these efforts.”

 

 

Share this article