(Aubervilliers) The American comedian Forest Whitaker, Oscar for best actor in 2007 for The Last King of Scotland, inaugurated on Wednesday in Aubervilliers, in the Paris region, a training center operated by his NGO, which is setting up in France after the America and Africa.

Light gray suit and white shirt, the imposing 61-year-old African-American actor cut the ribbon for the new Whitaker Peace Center

Geared towards women and young people, this centre, which has been operational for a few months, offers programs in conflict management, business creation and digital training. About 60 people have already been trained there, with the objective of 200 to 250 beneficiaries per year.

This pilot project, financed by the patronage of partners such as the BNP Paribas bank, is a test and could be replicated if successful in other municipalities in the department of Seine-Saint-Denis, which is among the poorest and most criminogenic. of France.

Founded in 2012 by the actor, marked by his encounter with child soldiers in Uganda on the set of The Last King of Scotland where he played the role of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin Dada, WPDI is mainly present in his hometown of Los Angeles. and African countries (South Africa, Chad, South Sudan, etc.). This is its first location in Europe.

“We currently operate in eight countries. Every city is different, the culture and the people are different. But there are basic needs that everyone has and that must be met,” Forest Whitaker told reporters, saying he wanted to “build on a potential that is already present” in France.

Prior to the opening of the center, the interpreter of Charlie Parker in Bird (1988) made several discreet visits to Seine-Saint-Denis over the past two years.

“The action of WPDI begins with the opening of a center, in which we train young people who will become ambassadors of the program and work for peace”, described the American actor, who was promoted to the rank of commander arts and letters in 2021 in France.