John Prendergast, high profile human rights activist and author, has been named the 2009-2010 Paul H. Nitze Senior Fellow and is expected to visit campus three times over the year.
The Nitze Senior Fellow is appointed by the Provost and visits the College three times a year to give public lectures and interact with students and faculty. “We work them hard,” said Director of the Nitze Scholars Program, Michael Taber. “For example, over his three visits, last year’s Fellow, T.R. Reid, met with classes in Computer Science, Economics, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology ad Sociology, along with CORE 101 and Nitze Seminars.”
Dr. Taber also schedules relaxed activities as well, including a bike ride with students for Mr. Reid and a discussion in kayaks for the 2007-08 Fellow Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.
Mr. Prendergast’s work has focused on Africa, especially on Darfur and the Congo. He is co-founder of the Enough Project, an initiative to end genocide and crimes against humanity. During the Clinton Administration, Mr. Prendergast was involved in several peace processes in Africa while he was Director of African Affairs at the National Security Council and Special advisor at the State Department.
He has also worked for members of Congress, the United Nations, humanitarian aid agencies, human rights organizations and think tanks. His 2007 book Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond, co-authored with actor Don Cheadle, was a New York Times bestseller.
He is currently working on two books for publication by Random House, one focusing on his 25 years in the Big Brother program and the other about human rights and peace activism. Because both books are due within the same week, his visits have not been scheduled. According to Taber, they should be set within the coming weeks.
“I know that Prendergast’s schedule will be more challenging than most,” Taber said. “But I hope we can find dates when he can spend the better part of a day or two with in our beautiful and welcoming community.”