The Hollywood star, best known for his potrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland" was given the designation at an official ceremony at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
Whitaker was named UNESCO goodwill ambassador, "in recognition of his humanitarian and artistic commitment," according to a statement released by the UN organisation.
I think it s an honor. I am very fortunate to have met them, had this opportunity, to work, because so many of them are doing so much great work out on the field. I am just going to try to work alongside, work behind, carry the bags, do as much as I can, and make it work," Whitaker said.
Apart from acting in and directing Hollywood blockbusters, Whitaker is also known to be an activist for causes such as animal rights and fighting against substance abuse.