John Prendergast's blog

John Prendergast.jpgJohn Prendergast is a human rights activist and best-selling author who has worked for peace in Africa for nearly thirty years. He is the Founding Director of the Enough Project, an initiative to end genocide and crimes against humanity affiliated with the Center for American Progress. John has worked for the Clinton White House, the State Department, two members of Congress, the National Intelligence Council, UNICEF, Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, and the U.S. Institute of Peace.  He has been a Big Brother for over 25 years, as well as a youth counselor and a basketball coach.

John is the author or co-author of ten books.  His newest book, Unlikely Brothers, is a dual memoir co-authored with his first little brother in the Big Brother program. His previous two books were co-authored with Don Cheadle: Not On Our Watch, a New York Times bestseller and NAACP non-fiction book of the year, and The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes.

During his time in government, John was part of the facilitation team behind the successful two-year mediation led by Anthony Lake which ended the 1998-2000 war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the deadliest war in the world at the time.  He was also part of peace processes for Burundi (led by Nelson Mandela), Sudan (led by Lazaro Sumbeiywo) and Congo.

Under the Enough Project umbrella, John has helped create a number of initiatives and campaigns.  With George Clooney, he co-founded the Satellite Sentinel Project, which aims to prevent conflict and human rights abuses through satellite imagery and forensic investigations of stolen assets that fuel violence. With Tracy McGrady and other NBA stars, John launched the Darfur Dream Team Sister Schools Program to fund schools in Darfurian refugee camps and create partnerships with schools in the United States. Through the Enough Project, he conceived the Raise Hope for Congo Campaign, highlighting the issue of conflict minerals that fuel the war there and supporting a more comprehensive peace process. He also helped direct the Sudan Now campaign, which supported the holding of a peaceful referendum for South Sudan. John is a board member and serves as Strategic Advisor to Not On Our Watch, the organization founded by George Clooney, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, and Brad Pitt.

In 2014, John will appear in the motion picture "The Good Lie," starring Reese Witherspoon.  He is a primary subject of the forthcoming book by Jane Bussman, "A Journey to the Dark Heart of Nameless Unspeakable Evil." Also in 2014, he will launch his newest project on Congo with Ryan Gosling.

John has been awarded six honorary doctorates. He is or has been a visiting professor at Stanford University, Yale Law School, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, American University, American University in Cairo, the University of San Diego, the University of Pittsburgh, Temple University, Albright College, St. Mary's College, the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and Eckerd College.

John has appeared in four episodes of 60 Minutes, for which the team won an Emmy Award, and helped create African characters and stories for two episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, one focusing on the recruitment of child soldiers and the other on rape as a war strategy. John has also traveled to Africa with NBC’s Dateline, ABC’s Nightline, The PBS NewsHour, CNN’s Inside Africa, Newsweek/The Daily Beast, and The New York Times Magazine.

He has appeared in several documentaries including: Blood in the MobileSand and Sorrow, Darfur Now, 3 Points, and War Child. He also co-produced with Martin Sheen and Melissa Fitzgerald the documentary After Kony: Staging Hope, which focuses on Northern Uganda. John partnered with Downtown Records and Mercer Street Records to create the compilation album “Raise Hope for Congo,” combating sexual violence against women and girls in Congo.

He has been profiled in The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Men's Vogue, Time, Entertainment Weekly, GQ, Oprah Magazine, Capitol File, Arrive, Interview, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

John has received the following awards: The Huffington Post 2011 Game Changer Award; the United Nations Correspondents Association Citizen of the World Award; the Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award; the Princeton University Crystal Tiger Award; the U.S. Department of State Distinguished Service Award; the Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution Award; Outstanding Literary Work for Not on Our Watch at the 39th NAACP Image Awards; 12th Annual Moste Lanterns Award; Global Action Humanitarian Award; American University School of International Services Alumnus of the Year; Southern California Mediation Association Randolph Lowry Lecturer Award; Dispute Resolution Services Louis M. Brown Conflict Prevention Award; Leon H. Sullivan Foundation Special Service Award; Temple University Alumni Fellow; Kean University 2013 Human Rights Institute Award; and the State Department’s Superior Honor Award. 

MSNBC Op-Ed: How John Kerry could help bring peace to Congo

The last time two Americans of this prominence traveled to Congo (then Zaire), it was for the boxing match of the century: the Rumble in the Jungle between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali.   Read More »

Daily Beast Op-Ed: Preventing Genocide in South Sudan

Twenty years after Rwanda’s genocide, the world’s newest state—not Syria or Darfur—is the region most in danger of mass exterminations along ethnic lines.  Read More »

Daily Beast Op-ed: Before There’s a Genocide: The Slaughter in South Sudan Must Stop

Hate radio; butchered men, women and children; ethnic revenge—the tragedy of South Sudan’s civil war grows worse by the day. This new op-ed by the Enough Project's John Prendergast and Justine Fleischner provides solutions and calls for more international action to bring this violence to an end.

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Still a Problem From Hell, Two Decades After Rwanda

Rwandan Genocide Remembrance

Twenty years after Rwanda’s horrors, there are signs of hope for a more effective international response to future genocides—but only if we recognize the evolution in genocidal tactics. This op-ed by John Prendergast originally appeared in The Daily Beast on the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide.  Read More »

Op-ed: Another Kind of Surge

A little over three years ago, in advance of the referendum for South Sudan's independence, the great fear of the Sudanese and the broader international community was that the war between the north and south -- a war that was perhaps the second-deadliest globally since World War II -- might reignite.   Read More »

Op-ed: The New Face of African Conflict

As a new wave of violent conflicts has ravaged Africa, borders and conventional peace processes have done little to contain them.  Read More »

Daily Beast Op-ed: Government Ceasefire Is First Step Towards Peace in South Sudan

South Sudanese government forces after recent victory in Bentiu, in Unity State,

The government and the armed opposition have signed a ceasefire, in a hopeful step after weeks of bloody fighting.  Read More »

USA Today Op-ed: Using tech to end wars

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich

Corporations may not have a direct responsibility to end wars in far-flung corners of the Earth. But when parts of their products may come from a war zone, they can, in fact, help support peace by assuming more control over their supply chains. Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is a case in point.  Read More »

Op-ed: The Achilles Heel of the Anti-Kony Mission

U.S. military advisors in the Central African Republic working with regional for

In a time of deeply divided governance, Republicans and Democrats have been united in supporting U.S. efforts to help African forces bring an end to the terror sowed by Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) militia.  Read More »

Daily Beast Op-ed: How Congo Defeated the M23 Rebels

Congolese army soldiers march through Rugare after recapturing it from M23 rebel

Good news is hard to come by in Congo, so no one should be surprised to see Congolese citizens dancing in the streets these days, overjoyed by their government’s rare battlefield victory over the reviled M23 rebellion.  Read More »

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