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On a trip to southern Sudan in October 2010, George Clooney and Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast had an idea. What if we could watch the warlords? Monitor them just like the paparazzi spies on Clooney?
“Why can’t I be a guy with a 400-mile lens, a tourist, taking pictures and sticking them on the Internet?”
When they returned from the trip, Clooney and Prendergast set to turning this revolutionary idea into a reality. They secured partnerships and made a plan. Within a year after the December 2010 launch date, the Satellite Sentinel Project had already documented violent attacks, large-scale displacement, and mass graves in Sudan.
A year and a half later, Clooney returned to South Sudan in March 2012. This was no media stunt - he traveled like a journalist, staying in tents, riding in the back of trucks, and meeting survivors, policy-makers, and militants along the way.
“The idea is, we’re just going to keep the pressure on. Turning the lights on doesn’t mean anything stops. But it makes it harder, and that’s our job.” – George Clooney in Parade Magazine
In the Media
George Clooney on How to Stop An Inferno in South Sudan, The Daily Beast, December 2012
The world’s youngest country now stands on the precipice of a new civil war which threatens to hurl South Sudan back into the violence from which it just emerged
George Clooney: Sudan could become a second Syria, USA Today, October 2012
Sudan is becoming Syria in slow motion. Millions of lives depend on whether this dangerous trend can be reversed.
Though his rise to fame has been through acting, "Clooney is now the ultimate celebrity photographer, except his lenses are focused not on red carpets but on distant atrocities," wrote LA Times Magazine Reporter John Horn in a December 2011 profile. Read the article.
Parade magazine highlighted Clooney’s humanitarian work. In the September 26, 2011, profile by David Gergen, Clooney talked about his four trips to the Sudan, saying, “Two million people were killed in the north-south war in Sudan before 2005. I wasn’t going to stand on the sidelines and not participate.”
In its March 2011 cover story, Imaging Notes magazine profiled SSP. Says Clooney, "We have images nearly in real time of the deliberate destruction of a village in Abyei,” explained Clooney. “We have warned for months that the match that could ignite the resumption of war between North and South Sudan resides in Abyei. It is critical that diplomatic efforts be intensified to prevent such an outcome."
A "21st century statesman" is what Newsweek calls George Clooney for his long-standing efforts to push for high political engagement in Sudan—the most recent of which was detailed in the magazine’s February 28, 2011, cover story by John Avlon. The piece chronicles Clooney and Enough Co-founder John Prendergast’s January 2011 trip to South Sudan during the momentous vote for secession—from the capital of Juba, to the volatile border region of Abyei, to a returnee camp—all the while asking the question: Does having a celebrity advocate make a difference?