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John Prendergast
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John Prendergast is Co-founder of the Enough Project, an initiative to end genocide and crimes against humanity. During the Clinton administration, John was involved in a number of peace processes in Africa while he was director of African Affairs at the National Security Council and special advisor at the Department of State. John has also worked for members of Congress, the United Nations, humanitarian aid agencies, human rights organizations, and think tanks, as well as having been a youth counselor and basketball coach.

He has authored eight books on Africa, including Not on Our Watch, a New York Times bestseller and NAACP non-fiction book of the year that he co-authored with actor Don Cheadle. John is currently working on two new books for publication by Random House, one that focuses on his 25 years in the Big Brother program, and the other on human rights and peace activism.

John has helped produce a number of documentaries and he consults on scripts for movies and for television shows, including an episode of NBC's "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit," which focused on child soldiers. He also has taken a number of television news programs to Africa, including "Nightline" and "The Lehrer Newshour," and has been part of a series of episodes of CBS' "60 Minutes" which earned an Emmy Award for Best Continuing News Coverage. John is currently working on an upcoming episode of "60 Minutes" on Congo.

His op-eds have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the International Herald Tribune, and he has been profiled in Vanity Fair, Men's Vogue, Entertainment Weekly, GQ Magazine, Oprah Magazine, Capitol File, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

John travels regularly to Africa's war zones on fact-finding missions, peace-making initiatives, and awareness-raising trips. He is a visiting professor at the University of San Diego, Eckerd College, St. Mary's College of Maryland, and the American University in Cairo.
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Entries by John Prendergast

South Sudan in the Senate

(0) Comments | Posted January 9, 2014 | 8:50 AM

Today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding a hearing on the urgent crisis unfolding in South Sudan. The U.S. has played a crucial role in supporting past peace efforts in Sudan and South Sudan over the past couple decades, and should continue that tradition now. There are...

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The Achilles Heel of the Anti-Kony Mission

(6) Comments | Posted November 20, 2013 | 3:36 PM

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. U.S. military advisers have trained, equipped and supported troops from Uganda, South...

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Bashir's Right Hand Man Comes to New York

(0) Comments | Posted October 10, 2013 | 3:55 PM

After a firestorm over Sudanese president's potential visit, his right hand man travels to New York this week as record numbers of demonstrators are being killed on Sudan's streets.

Only two weeks after President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan decided at the last minute not to come to New York to...

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On Our Watch

(1) Comments | Posted April 30, 2013 | 4:12 PM

As we gather to mark April as Genocide Awareness month, to recognize atrocities across the world and throughout history, it's important not just to recognize the past, but to learn from it.

Ten years ago this month, the international community joined together to bring the world's attention...

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Regardez la série "I Am Congo" parce que nous n'y figurons pas et c'est tant mieux!

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2012 | 12:03 PM

L'automne dernier, à Thanksgiving (Action de grâce), nous nous sommes envolés vers la République Démocratique du Congo. Ce pays, qui a vécu une guerre abominable, nous a pourtant donné l'occasion de connaître des gens extraordinaires. Fidel Bafilemba est l'un d'entre eux. Celui qui nous a accompagnés tout le long de...

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Watch I Am Congo -- Because We're Not in It

(46) Comments | Posted May 1, 2012 | 8:49 AM

On our second trip together to Africa last Thanksgiving, we decided to go to the place where the deadliest war in the world was occurring: the Congo. The entire time we were there, we traveled with an extraordinary Congolese guy named Fidel Bafilemba. His video profile is the first in...

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Chris Meloni Vs. Joseph Kony: Funny or Die, Enough Project Take on the LRA (VIDEO)

(8) Comments | Posted March 29, 2012 | 1:39 PM

A few years ago, the Enough Project helped the producers and writers at NBC's "Law & Order: SVU" do an episode in which the central character was a former child soldier in Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army, or LRA. The cast of "Law & Order: SVU" was deeply affected by...

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Why Obama Sent Troops to Africa

(188) Comments | Posted October 25, 2011 | 2:11 PM

This month President Obama announced that he is sending 100 U.S. military advisers to central Africa to assist regional forces in ending the reign of terror orchestrated by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, Mr. Obama noted that the LRA "continues to commit...

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What the Arab Spring Means for Sudan

(0) Comments | Posted September 13, 2011 | 5:17 PM

The level of violence in Sudan since South Sudan seceded has few parallels in the world right now. The instigator and party most responsible for the death and destruction is the regime in Khartoum. A 22-year dictatorship, it is deeply entrenched, and until recently changing the status quo was almost...

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Schools and Solutions in Sudan

(1) Comments | Posted June 20, 2011 | 8:36 AM

Unfortunately, when we hear about Sudan these days, it is usually about the escalating crises between North and South Sudan and in Darfur. But as we pause to recognize the millions of refugees around the world today on World Refugee Day, we also want to point out that all is...

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War Again Between North and South Sudan?

(5) Comments | Posted May 23, 2011 | 3:44 PM

Sunday, as the Khartoum regime was solidifying its military occupation of Abyei and beginning to loot and burn the town, I heard from one of the foremost experts on Sudan in the world, Dr. Douglas Johnson. We agreed that Bashir's government felt certain that it would face no international consequences...

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Unlikely Brothers

(5) Comments | Posted May 17, 2011 | 10:13 AM

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This is a picture of me -- when I was 20 years old -- with a family I met when I was visiting a homeless shelter. Michael, the boy on the far left, became my "little brother," and I've been his big...

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Keeping the Spotlight on Sudan

(4) Comments | Posted May 11, 2011 | 12:20 PM

South Sudan was on our mind five years ago when we met during the filming of the movie War Child. At that time, we both thought there was little chance the government of Sudan in Khartoum would allow a peaceful and fair referendum to determine the fate of...

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A Deadly Mother's Day Secret

(40) Comments | Posted May 6, 2011 | 8:47 AM

This is not your typical Mother's Day message.

We email, text and call each other from our Blackberry and iPhone regularly. We would have been Facebook friends if we had our own Facebook pages. And surely we would tweet each other if we became twitterers. But underlying all these dizzying...

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Congo's Conflict Minerals: The Next Blood Diamonds

(65) Comments | Posted April 27, 2011 | 7:30 AM

We recently traveled together to Congo, where the deadliest war in the world is occurring. During the trip, Ryan made this video, "Raise Hope for Congo."

Ryan Gosling: "Raise Hope for Congo" from Enough Project on Vimeo.

(Special thanks to musician James Blake for the use of his track, "Lindisfarne I.")

It's a war which most people know nothing about, despite the fact that we're all directly connected to it. Armed groups are fighting over the lucrative minerals that power our cell phones and laptops, leaving a trail of human destruction that has no equal globally since World War II.

We spent most of our time in Congo talking with survivors of this silent war. We wanted to know what they experienced, and what messages they might have for those of us who have come to rely on cell phones and laptops that inadvertently connect us to Congo.

Marie is a rape survivor twice over. She has overcome her suffering to found a women's organization that helps others who have survived sexual crimes. We asked her what message she would have for electronics companies. "Please stop this bloody business," she pleaded. "You are fueling conflict. Families are being torn apart. Women are being raped. Communities are being destroyed so armed groups can profit from mines. Companies should stop supporting this and do ethical business."

The conflict in Congo has left millions homeless, fleeing from their villages after they have been burnt to the ground or looted by armed groups. In a camp for internally displaced people, we met Mapendo, a young woman who survived an attack on her village in which members of an armed militia went door to door raping women and killing men. In reply to our questions, she said starkly, "There is no difference between the phone companies and the people doing the killing here in Congo."

The president of one refugee camp told us, "The problem in Congo is greed. They should prosecute the greedy people, wherever they come from, who benefit from illegal minerals." A young man living in the camp named Innocent who had been driven from his home by an armed group taking over a nearby mine concluded, "The people that are doing this to me are the people who are making the phones that use these minerals."

Esther, another displaced camp resident, challenged us in a unique way: "I want the users of these minerals to come live in these camps with us so they can understand what we are going through." Finally, a 14 year old girl whom we befriended spoke with a level of clarity well beyond her years when she told us, "Anyone who buys a cell phone should question their conscience and insist on fair trade."

The truth of what we heard from survivors is rooted in simple economics. Profits made from this illicit minerals trade arise from market demand for such minerals. If consumers demand conflict-free products, then companies will eventually meet that demand, in turn cratering the market for minerals mined through violence.

Luckily, instead of just feeling guilty or even boycotting consumer electronics, there are things you can do, positive steps that will have an impact on this deadly trade in conflict minerals.

First, you can join the growing movement of people across the U.S. and beyond who are raising hope for Congo by directly contacting the 21 biggest electronics companies and demanding conflict-free products here. The Enough Project ranked the top companies on the actions they have taken on conflict minerals to date and found that two-thirds of them have done little to nothing. Many of them assert their conflict-free intentions, but with a few exceptions their actions haven't equaled their rhetoric. The bottom line here is this: if you demand conflict-free products, they will supply them, just like with the blood diamonds campaign that ended that deadly trade and helped stop three wars in West Africa.

Second, if you are connected to a college or high school, you can join the national drive for conflict-free campuses, in which students are leading efforts to convince school administrators to demand conflict-free products as well. Download the toolkit at RaiseHopeForCongo.org/campus.

Congo is the deadliest war in the world for a reason. For the last 150 years, the world has taken whatever it wanted from this country, from people who were enslaved for America's plantations, to ivory for our jewelry, to rubber for our automobile industry, to uranium for our atomic bombs, to today's conflict minerals for our cell phones, laptops and other products. Finally, a global people's movement has begun to be formed to stop this history of destructive extraction.

Now that you know, what will you do?

Ryan Gosling is an actor. John Prendergast is a co-founder of the Enough Project and author of Unlikely...

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Protecting Civilians and Promoting Peace in Sudan (Video)

(6) Comments | Posted March 28, 2011 | 12:04 PM

Three and a half months from now, the world's newest nation will be born: the Republic of Southern Sudan. Heady times for a people who have fought for fifty years for freedom, and won the right to vote in what was a peaceful independence referendum in January. But this road...

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Bang the Drum for Peace in Darfur (Video)

(4) Comments | Posted March 15, 2011 | 11:58 AM

There is a moment in every global crisis where things no longer seem new and dynamic. Where hope for a solution is replaced with uncertainty, which morphs into cynicism, despair, or even indifference. Many people who were such enthusiastic supporters of building a movement to end the genocide in Darfur...

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Certifying Congo's Deadly Conflict Minerals

(1) Comments | Posted February 7, 2011 | 10:36 AM

Co-authored by Aaron Hall

It's time for a new blood diamonds campaign, but this time for the conflict minerals that are tearing apart the Congo.

Ten years ago a handful of African countries were being torn apart by civil conflict perpetuated by the extraction and trade of "blood diamonds." As...

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Actor Ryan Gosling Previews Original Footage From Congo on Jimmy Kimmel Live

(2) Comments | Posted January 21, 2011 | 3:18 PM

I recently traveled to Congo with Ryan Gosling. Here's a blog post by my colleague Sadia Hameed, campaign manager of Raise Hope for Congo:

Last December actor and human rights advocate Ryan Gosling traveled with Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast and Enough field analyst Fidel Bafilemba to eastern...

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Luol Deng's Assist for Freedom in Sudan (VIDEO)

(1) Comments | Posted December 20, 2010 | 10:27 AM

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Most people know Luol Deng as a basketball player for the championship-contending Chicago Bulls. As a Celtics fan, it pains me to acknowledge that is a very good basketball player, and I wish the Celts had him. But Luol has even bigger...

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