​​​Forest Steven WhitakerForest Steven Whitaker

Oscar Winning Actor/Philanthropist/Civic Leader

California State University, Dominguez Hills

A native son to the City of Carson, Forest Steven Whitaker is an honored and respected humanitarian and an award winning actor, director and producer. He has received many distinctions for his acting, including the 2007 Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. Whitaker also received the Best Male Actor for his role inBird at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival. Whitaker recently received acclaim for his lead role in The Butler and for his production of the 2013 Sundance winner "Fruitvale Station."

Whitaker is a dedicated social activist who uses the film medium as a means to raise people's consciousness. 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.

A formidable peacemaker, he is founder and CEO of the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, co-founder and chair of the International Institute for Peace and the UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation.

Whitaker believes that communities and nations cannot attain peace and prosperity without heeding the voices of their diverse and vibrant youth. Throughout the world, he and his foundation are committed to providing educational tools and better living conditions to young women and men living in regions touched by violence.

As a member of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, Whitaker works with elementary school students to demonstrate to them the limitless power of the arts to express their voices and creative energies.

In 2014, Whitaker and CSU Dominguez Hills entered into a collaborative partnership through the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) to jointly create a conflict resolution education curriculum for WPDI's Domestic Harmonizer Program. The program includes a variety of educational materials and forums to educate youth, teachers, civil society professionals, advocates and policy makers in peaceful conflict resolution skills and processes.

In recognition of his commitment to social justice, his dedication to his craft and his professional and civic accomplishments as an artist, peacemaker and humanitarian, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Dominguez Hills are proud to confer upon Forest Steven Whitaker the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.