This event is co-sponsored by the WSD HANDA Center for Human Rights and International Justice and the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law.
Unchecked greed is the primary driver of conflict and mass atrocities in Africa. Most often, it manifests itself in the form of violent kleptocracies, in which governments are hijacked by networks of senior officials, military officers, bankers, mining and oil company representatives, and arms dealers. Conventional foreign policy approaches have failed to address the hell on earth that these networks have created. The principal vulnerability of the networks is their exposure in the international financial system, as most corrupt actors use that system to move their money and hide their wealth. The tools of financial pressure that have been honed in the aftermath of 9/11 hold great promise for countering the kleptocrats that are destroying parts of Africa through war and resource pillaging. Examining how those policies can be used and how a hopeful political constituency is being built is a major focus of this presentation.
John Prendergast is a human rights activist and New York Times best-selling author who has focused on peace in Africa for over thirty years. He is the Founding Director of the Enough Project, an initiative to end genocide and crimes against humanity. With George Clooney, he also co-founded The Sentry, a new investigative initiative focused on dismantling the networks financing conflict and atrocities. 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 three decades, as well as a youth counselor and a basketball coach. John is the author or co-author of ten books. John also co-founded the Satellite Sentinel Project, which used satellite imagery to spotlight mass atrocities. With NBA stars, John launched the Darfur Dream Team Sister Schools Program to fund schools in Darfuri refugee camps. He also created Enough’s Raise Hope for Congo Campaign, highlighting the issue of conflict minerals, and its student arm the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative. John also runs Not On Our Watch, the organization founded by Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Brad Pitt and George Clooney. John has been awarded six honorary doctorates. He has been a visiting professor at Yale Law School, Stanford University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, and others. John has appeared in four episodes of 60 Minutes, for which the team won an Emmy Award, and helped create African stories for two episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. John has also traveled to Africa with NBC’s Dateline, ABC’s Nightline, PBS’ NewsHour, CNN’s Inside Africa, and Newsweek and The Daily Beast. He also appears in the motion picture “The Good Lie,” starring Reese Witherspoon and Emmanuel Jal, as well as documentaries including Merci Congo, When Elephants Fight, Blood in the Mobile, Sand and Sorrow, Darfur Now, 3 Points, and War Child.