St. Mary's College of Maryland

Thor and friend watered a tree they just planted, in South Africa

Paul H. Nitze Senior Fellow 2009-10

John Prendergast, former director of African Affairs at the National Security Council, special advisor at the Department of State, author, and human rights activist

John Prendergast

John Prendergast is a human rights activist who has passionately fought for many years to end genocide and other crimes against humanity in Africa, particularly in the countries of Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). During the Clinton years, Prendergast was director of African Affairs at the National Security Council and special advisor at the Department of State. He authored eight books on Africa, including New York Times bestseller Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond, and is finishing two more, one on his 25 years in the Big Brother program and one on human rights and peace activism. Prendergast co-founded the Enough Project in 2007 to promote peace; has taken journalists to Africa, including those from Nightline, 60 Minutes, and The Lehrer Newshour; and has produced a number of documentaries. The activist travels regularly to Africa's war zones on fact-finding missions, peace-making initiatives, and awareness-raising trips.

Prendergast gave a public talk on each of his three visits to campus throughout the course of the academic year. In November, he talked about "Stopping Rape as a Weapon of War: The Democratic Republic of Congo and Beyond."  He had just returned from Congo, where with a film crew from 60 Minutes he had done a segment about the issue. 

His two spring talks were "Stopping Genocide: Darfur and Beyond" (in February) and “Persistence in Human Rights Work: Reasons for Hope about Africa’s Trouble Spots” (in April).  The students in the Nitze Leadership Tutorial in the spring read the book he co-authored with actor/activist Don Cheadle about Darfur, Not on Our Watch, and discussed with him the issues he and Cheadle raised.

Update as of July 2011: Mr. Prendergast worked hard in Sudan around the January 2011 referendum in southern Sudan that led to a 99% vote in favor of seceding from the rest of Sudan, and through their July 9 independence as Southern Sudan.  He discussed this on the July 18 Colbert Nation.  In May 2011 his book Unlikely Brothers: Our Story of Adventure, Loss, and Redemption (with Michael Mattocks) was published, as was, in September 2010, his book, co-authored with Don Cheadle The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes.

Aerial view of St. Mary's College of Maryland campus

St. Mary's College of Maryland
18952 E. Fisher Rd
St. Mary's City, MD 20686-3001