Boston University to Honor Academy Award Winner & Humanitarian Forest Whitaker Investing Him as a Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellow


Contact: Kira Jastive, 617-358-1240 or

(Boston) – The Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University will host award winning actor, director and producer Forest Whitaker for their fourth Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Lecture. Whitaker will also be invested as a Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellow. Mr. Whitaker is well known for winning an Academy Award for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 2006 film The Last King of Scotland and also for his charity work and social activism. In 2011, Mr. Whitaker was inducted as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation.  The Gotlieb Center is the repository of Mr. Whitaker’s personal papers and an exhibition of his archive will be on display. The event is free and open to the public.

Event Details

Title: Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Lecture featuring Actor, Director and Humanitarian Forest Whitaker

Date: Monday, January 21, 2013

Time: 4:00 PM

Location: Metcalf Hall (2nd Floor of the George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston)

Admission: Free and open to the public

Contact: For more information, call 617-353-3696 or email

The mission of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Lecture is to bring speakers to the Boston University community who serve as leaders in the quest for maintaining social justice and human rights.  We seek mentors for our students who exemplify the highest standards of Dr. King’s legacy of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation. Past Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellows include Christine King Farris, Paul Rusesabagina, and Congressman John Lewis.

Forest Whitaker 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, Mr. Whitaker received the Best Actor for Bird at the Cannes Film Festival.

Forest has dedicated most of his time to extensive humanitarian work over the past decade. Mr. Whitaker’s 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 sworn in 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.

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research.  With more than 33,000 students, it is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States.  BU consists of 16 schools and colleges, along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes integral to the University’s research and teaching mission.  In 2012, BU joined the Association of American Universities (AAU), a consortium of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.