Building on The Western Union Company’s 2016 commitment at the White House Call to Action on Refugees, the WU Foundation entered into a partnership with the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) in early 2017. Founded by Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker, WPDI empowers refugees and displaced persons in Africa, Latin America and the US through job training, conflict resolution and access to digital technologies. We’re investing more than USD $1.2 million over three years to support WPDI’s Youth Peacemaker Network curriculum in the Kiryandongo refugee settlement in Northern Uganda. Our goal is to provide 10,000 young people with business and entrepreneurship skills that will help them give back to their host community – and could eventually help them rebuild their home countries.
In December 2017, Hikmet Ersek, Western Union’s President and CEO, and Jacqueline Molnar, Western Union’s Chief Compliance Officer and the head of the Western Union Foundation’s Board of Directors, traveled to Uganda with Forest Whitaker to celebrate the first group of graduates from WPDI’s Kiryandongo program and to see firsthand the impact that Western Union Foundation funding is having on the lives of these young people. Now, we’re helping to fund an expansion of the Youth Peacemaker Network to the Mexican cities of Chiapas and Tijuana. Over three years, we’ll be investing at least $325,000 to support 4,000 young people with workforce training initiatives.