John Prendergast is a human rights activist and New York Times best-selling author who has focused on peace in Africa for more than 30 years. He is the Founding Director of the Enough Project, an initiative to end genocide and crimes against humanity. He is also the co-founder with George Clooney of The Sentry, a new investigative initiative chasing the assets of war criminals and their international facilitators. Prendergast 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 in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program for more than 30 years to a number of boys, as well as a youth counselor and basketball coach.
Prendergast is the author or co-author of ten books. His latest 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 nonfiction book of the year, and The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes. He is also beginning a book project on Congo, in collaboration with actor Ryan Gosling.
Prendergast also serves as Executive Director of Not On Our Watch, founded by Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Brad Pitt, and George Clooney.
Prendergast appears in the Warner Brothers' motion picture The Good Lie, starring Reese Witherspoon. He is a primary subject of the book by Jane Bussman, A Journey to the Dark Heart of Nameless Unspeakable Evil.
During his time in government, Prendergast 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 President Nelson Mandela), Sudan (led by Lazaro Sumbeiywo) and Congo.
Under the Enough Project umbrella, Prendergast has helped create a number of initiatives and campaigns. With George Clooney, he co-founded the Satellite Sentinel Project, which aimed to prevent conflict and human rights abuses through satellite imagery. With Tracy McGrady and other NBA stars, John launched the Darfur Dream Team Sister Schools Program to fund schools in Darfur refugee camps and create partnerships with schools in the United States. Through the Enough Project, he conceived the Raise Hope for Congo Campaign, which highlights the issue of conflict minerals that fuel the war there, and, with its companion Conflict-Free Campus Initiative, supports a more comprehensive peace process. He also helped direct the Sudan Now campaign, which supported the holding of a peaceful referendum for South Sudan.
Prendergast has been awarded seven honorary doctorates. He is or has been a visiting professor at Stanford University, Yale Law School, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Claremont McKenna College, Kean 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, and Eckerd College.
Prendergast has appeared in five episodes of 60 Minutes, for which the team won an Emmy Award, which led to the creation of 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: Merci Congo, When Elephants Fight, Blood in the Mobile, Sand and Sorrow, Darfur Now, 3 Points, Son of South Sudan, 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, The Hill, Capitol File, Arrive, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Spectator Life, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Prendergast has received the following awards: Vital Voices Solidarity Award, The Huffington Post Game Changer Award; the United Nations Correspondents Association Global 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 Human Rights Institute Award; the State Department’s Superior Honor Award; and the Champion of Human Life Award from The Values Network.