Scroll to top

Founding Director

John Prendergast

During the course of the ten years of Enough’s existence, we have had the chance to be involved in so many consequential issues, projects, and moments. One personal way to catalogue some of this is through this webpage of the history of my own involvement in many of these efforts. This webpage contains the links to all kinds of different content I’ve been a part of over the last decade.  

– John Prendergast

John Prendergast is a human rights and anti-corruption activist as well as a New York Times best-selling author. John is the Co-Founder with George Clooney of The Sentry, an investigative and policy team that follows the dirty money connected to war criminals and transnational war profiteers. John is also the Senior Advisor of the Clooney Foundation for Justice.

John has worked for the 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 over 35 years to ten different boys, as well as a youth counselor and basketball coach.

John is the author or co-author of eleven books.  His latest book is Congo Stories, co-authored with Congolese activist Fidel Bafilemba and featuring photographs by Ryan Gosling.  His previous book was Unlikely Brothers, a dual memoir co-authored with his first “little brother,” Michael Mattocks. His two books before that 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 President Nelson Mandela), Sudan (led by Lazaro Sumbeiywo) and DR Congo.

John also co-founded the Enough Project, a policy organization aimed at countering genocide and crimes against humanity.  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 until 2015 aimed to prevent conflict and human rights abuses through satellite imagery. With Tracy McGrady and other NBA stars, John founded the Darfur Dream Team Sister Schools Program to fund schools in Darfurian refugee camps and create partnerships with schools in the United States. He also helped launched the Raise Hope for Congo Campaign, highlighting the issue of conflict minerals that fuel the war there and supporting a more comprehensive peace process, and its companion Conflict-Free Campus Initiative. He also co-founded the Sudan Now campaign, which supported the holding of a peaceful referendum for South Sudan in 2010.

John 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.

John 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."

John has appeared in five 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: 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.

John 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.

For information on speeches by John Prendergast and to contact him for a speaking opportunity, please click the SPEECHES tab above.

Television Appearances


Co-authored Op-Eds

With George Clooney: With Don Cheadle: With Ryan Gosling: With Ashley Judd: With Sheryl Crow: With Javier Bardem: With Emmanuelle Chriqui: Robin Wright and John Prendergast:



The Good Lie (Phillipe Falardeau, 2014)


Magazine Articles



Topics for Speeches, Informal Talks, and Film Screenings with John Prendergast

To contact John Prendergast for speaking opportunities, please send an email to Greg Hittelman,

  1. The Astonishing Story of Congo's Connections to America, and You

For five centuries right up to the present, Americans and Europeans have benefited enormously from an astonishing history of exploitation of the people and natural resources of a country in the heart of Africa: the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The people of Congo are fighting back, risking their lives to resist and alter the deadly status quo. And human rights movements led by young people in the U.S. and Europe are supporting those Congolese change-makers. As a result, the way the world deals with Congo is finally changing. Based on the book by John Prendergast and Fidel Bafilemba, the book's beautiful photos by Ryan Gosling will be available to project on a screen before and after the talk.

  1. War Crimes Shouldn’t Pay: Stopping War Profiteering by Following the Money

Perhaps more than any other factor, war has driven and shaped human history.  Superficially, many wars seem to have had no clear rationale or identifiable cause. Scratch beneath the surface, though, and there is one common denominator: unchecked greed.  War may be hell for the people, but it is very profitable and politically beneficial for a small group of opportunists.  I want to illustrate this by focusing on the region of the world I’ve spent the better part of the last 35 years working on: East and Central Africa, the deadliest war zone globally since WW2.  Sudan, South Sudan and Congo are three of the deadliest wars in history, and when combined with genocide in Rwanda, Darfur, and the Nuba Mountains, the death toll amounts to over ten million in the last three decades alone.

  1. 10 Building Blocks for Making a Difference in the World and in Your Neighborhood

I have pursued two paths to making an impact: locally through being a mentor and "Big Brother" to kids whose fathers are absent, and globally through my work for human rights in Africa.  I talk about how I stumbled onto both of these paths in my early 20s, and then provide ten ingredients I have found to have contributed to making a difference throughout these last three decades.  I intersperse personal stories of Africa, celebrities, and inspirational stories of how change can happen.

  1. The Holocaust, Modern Genocides and the Anti-Atrocities Movement

Genocide has evolved over time since the Holocaust.  But the variables going into genocide have remained the same: targeting people on the basis of their identity.  The biggest symbol of hope on the horizon regarding efforts to counter genocide is the growing people's movement to stop it from happening.  I talk about how social movements are the force that has changed the course of history in the past in response to terrible atrocities, and will do so again with regard to genocide.

  1. Success Stories in Student and Celebrity Activism

The good news is that -- despite all the cynicism -- activism works.  Social change is possible when people organize to counter injustice, when they move from being Bystanders to Upstanders.  Social movements are key.  In almost every case of dramatic or even incremental social change, behind it is a social movement:  anti-slavery, civil rights, women, labor, environment, peace, LGBT, etc. Students are always in the vanguard of these efforts, and celebrities are usually major components of a successful strategy as well.  Success stories aren't reserved just for U.S. causes.  There are also dramatic success stories when social movements in the US and internationally ally themselves in solidarity with change agents on the frontlines of the injustice: sweatshops, modern slavery, wars, diseases, poverty.  Drawing on decades of experience with social movements that have had a major impact in Africa, I provide a number of vignettes in which students and celebrities have made a difference on issues of importance to them.

  1. Seven Stories of Change and Transformation

I provide vignettes that highlight how I ended up focused on trying to change the world and examples of how I've tried to do that in my work, volunteerism, and broader life path.

  1. Unlikely Brothers: The Impact of Mentoring

My life as a Big Brother in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program over the last thirty years is the focus of this talk, with stories and lessons from my experiences.

  1. The Good Lie: A Warner Brothers movie starring Reese Witherspoon and a number of South Sudanese actors which is a dramatization of the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan who eventually were resettled in the U.S.
  2. Merci Congo: A documentary about the conflict minerals movement and Congo
  3. When Elephants Fight: A documentary about Congo
  4. Sand and Sorrow: An HBO documentary about Darfur
  5. Darfur Now: Don Cheadle’s documentary about Darfur
  6. After Kony: Staging Hope: How a theater group impacted former child soldiers
  7. War Child: A documentary about refugees and child soldiers in South Sudan
  8. 60 Minutes episode: The Deadly Gold Trade in Congo
  9. Son of South Sudan: Manute Bol ESPN documentary
  10. 60 Minutes episode on South Sudan