New York, NY –(ENEWSPF)–January 7, 2011– MTV and mtvU, MTV’s 24-hour college network, are teaming up with George Clooney and the Satellite Sentinel Project– along with Not on Our Watch, the Enough Project, Google, the United Nations UNITAR Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT), the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and Trellon, LLC –by calling on young people to help deter violence in Sudan, and send a loud message: “the world is watching.”
On January 9, 2011, southern Sudan will begin a week-long vote on independence from the rest of the country and analystshave warned that this could plunge the country back into civil war. Starting today, MTV and mtvU will promote the Satellite Sentinel Project across an array of on-air and online properties, encouraging young people to become peace monitors, inform their friends of the latest happenings in Sudan and be prepared to mobilize support should violence emerge. Specific calls to action can be found at www.mtvu.com/activism/sudan-action-now/ .
“Satellite Sentinel Project welcomes MTV and its viewers — who have been standing up for years to end human rights crimes in Darfur and southern Sudan — to our early warning system team,” said George Clooney, who initiated the project. “Frankly, our team of policy wonks and super nerds could use an injection of MTV style.”
In order to generate rapid responses to human rights concerns, the Satellite Sentinel Project combines satellite imagery analysis, field reports and crowd-sourced map data from Google Map Maker to prevent violence, and focuses world attention on Sudan. The project uses commercial satellites passing over the border of northern and southern Sudan to capture possible threats to civilians, observe the movement of displaced people, detect bombed and razed villages, or note other evidence of pending mass violence.To become part of the open-source, early warning system for Sudan, young people can follow the Satellite Sentinel Project on Twitter @SudanSentinel. By doing this, they’ll get the latest updates and action alerts, and be ready to help put pressure on public officials to respond, if necessary.
“We know the Millennial generation is fearless, and that they strongly believe in their power to affect change,” said Stephen Friedman, General Manager of MTV. “We’re proud to act as a megaphone for the Satellite Sentinel Project’s efforts, amplifying their message to young people so they can join forces with the world to help maintain peace in Sudan during this potentially volatile moment in history.”
Through mtvU, MTV has a history of partnering with its audience to generate awareness and take action on issues affecting Sudan. In 2006, as part of mtvU’s Sudan campaign to empower college students with tools to fight genocide in Darfur, the network launched “Darfur is Dying.” In this narrative-based simulation, the user, from the perspective of a displaced Darfurian, negotiates forces that threaten the survival of his or her refugee camp. To date, the game has beenplayed more than 3.9 million times by over 2 million players, and led to over 50,000 actions taken, including emailing the president, petitioning local representatives for legislation supporting Darfur, and learning how to start a divestment movement on campus.
The Satellite Sentinel Project marks the first sustained, public effort to systematically monitor and report on potential hotspots and threats to security along a border, in near real-time (within 24-36 hours), with the aim of heading off humanitarian disaster and human rights crimes before they occur. The Satellite Sentinel Project is available at www.satsentinel.org. The project’s funder, Not On Our Watch — co-founded by Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, David Pressman, and Jerry Weintraub — focuses global attention and resources toward putting an end to mass atrocities around the world.