Amid the rising tensions in Sudan, and a possible outbreak of violence that has world leaders fearing the worst, actor and activist George Clooney and NBC News' Ann Curry travel to Southern Sudan to shine a spotlight on the tumultuous region as the January referendum — when the south will vote on whether or not to secede and form its own country — looms and millions of lives are at stake. Clooney takes "Dateline" cameras on a fact-finding tour across the war-torn area and speaks with Curry about his experiences working with people who are living in dire poverty and struggling for peace. Airing Friday, Dec. 3 at 10 PM/ET, this special edition of "Dateline" reveals a side of Clooney outside of Hollywood's glitz and glamour — a Clooney leveraging his celebrity status to focus international attention on those who need it most, before it's too late.
"For what may be the first time in history, our cameras aimed to document a war of potential atrocities, possibly even genocide, as it unfolded in real time," explains NBC News' Ann Curry. "No one is more serious, or as clued in to the potential risks in Sudan as George Clooney; not only as an actor, but as a human rights activist. This 'Dateline' hour offers a rare glimpse of the real world, and of a man who cares honestly about these people who have no voice, except the one he gives them."
"Dateline" cameras follow Clooney on his whistle-stop tour across the U.S., with John Prendergast—a former Clinton Administration Africa expert who now heads an anti-genocide group called the Enough Project— who also accompanied Clooney and Curry to Southern Sudan. Throughout their U.S. tour, they meet with students, officials, and political leaders in the White House and on Capitol Hill, aiming to bring attention to the problem in Sudan and work to find a peaceful solution. "You know, if the cameras are gonna follow me everywhere I go, then I'm going to go to places that the cameras should be," says Clooney, a United Nations "Messenger of Peace."
Curry also sits down one-on-one with a woman who many hope will bring much needed support to this brewing conflict: Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Illustrating the weight of the situation at hand, Rice says, "It's— it's humbling and it's daunting. But, at the end of the day, neither I nor the United States of America, nor even the entire international community can decide the fate of Sudan for it. Its people and its leaders have to do that." When asked what the international response might be if genocide begins, she responds, "I'm not gonna rule out anything."
Their upcoming Dateline hour-long report will air Friday at 10pm/9c.
Watch a web exclusive preview of 'Winds of War' below: