LEE DANIELS' THE BUTLER
FOREST WHITAKER (CECIL GAINES) is a distinguished artist and humanist. He is the founder of PeaceEarth
Foundation, co-founder and chair of the International Institute for Peace and is the UNESCO
Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation. Whitaker is also a talented, versatile
performer and one of Hollywood's most accomplished figures. He has received prestigious
artistic distinctions including the 2007 Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in The
Last King of Scotland as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. He has also received the BAFTA Award, SAG
Award, and Golden Globe for Best Actor. In addition, Whitaker received the Best Actor for Bird
at the Cannes Film Festival.
Whitaker has dedicated most of his time to extensive humanitarian work over the past decade.
His social awareness has compelled him to seek ways of using the film medium as a means to
raise peoples' consciousness. He produced the award-winning documentary Kassim the Dream,
which tells the poignant story of a Ugandan child soldier turned world championship boxer,
Rising From Ashes, which profiles Genocide survivors of the Rwandan war who have risen from
wooden bicycles to competing in the Olympics, Serving Life, which focuses on hospice care for
prisoners at Louisiana's Angola Prison, and the Emmy nominated and Peabody Award-winning
Brick City, which takes a look at inner-city life in Newark, New Jersey.
In 2007, Whitaker received the Cinema for Peace Award for his selfless and ongoing advocacy
for child soldiers, as well as his work with inner-city youth. He was also awarded the Humanitas
Prize in 2001. In 2008, he served as a member of the Urban Policy Committee and currently sits on
the board of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). Whitaker serves
as a Senior Research Scholar at Rutgers University, and a Visiting Professor at Ringling College of
Art and Design. In 2011, Whitaker was designated as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace
and Reconciliation. In this role, he works towards global peace building through anti-violent
education, research, training and community building. In recognition of his commitment as
UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and for his outstanding contribution to the work of the
Organization, Whitaker received in December 2012 the United Nations Correspondents
Association Advocate of the Year Award. In 2013, Boston University's Howard Gotlieb Archival
Research Center appointed Whitaker as a Martin Luther King Jr. Fellow.
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