TODAY   |  December 03, 2010

In Sudan with George Clooney

TODAY’s Ann Curry traveled to Sudan with Oscar-winner George Clooney, and reports on a potential civil war in that country with hundreds of thousands of lives at stake.­

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we are back at 7: 43. george clooney is on a mission.

>> next month, the people of southern sudan will take part in a vote that might make them an independent country and could plunge them into war. back in october, i reported on george clooney 's trip to sudan .

>> i'm up to my knees, but i do believe that there's a real possibility of saving a lot of lives. making it harder to kill people.

>> reporter: making it harder to kill people because it's going to be in the light of day ?

>> i think the light of day is a pretty amazing thing.

>> reporter: george clooney has been trying to use one of his most potent assets, his fame in an effort to prevent it. you may remember our trip in october.

>> how are you?

>> reporter: when we met people worlds removed from scenes we take for granted. like seeing their own image. let alone on something like a tv camera . many had suffered tragedy and we listened to their stories. she's saying pregnant women were burned to death. old women were raped. these are the worst things. a spark for a new war, a scheduled referendum on independence for the south. clooney wants sudan to document just how perilous the situation is. are you more convinced or less convinced that war, even atrocities could happen here?

>> i am much, much more convinced.

>> reporter: after gathering what he considers convincing evidence, clooney headed home to sound the alarm and his pr offensive began right here at "today." do you think this war can actually be stopped?

>> i think it can be stopped if we get involved now. we have a shot.

>> reporter: then clooney proceeded to blanket the air waives.

>> he's on a mission to help save sudan .ves.

>> he's on a mission to help save sudan .

>> george clooney shedding light on what's happening in sudan .

>> do we turn away? does the world care?

>> that's not the biggest danger.

>> thank you for using your celebrity for good and not evil, george clooney .

>> reporter: he reached millions of people during his media blitz. then phase two of his plan, bringing the message to the halls of power. he hit the capitol. our job is to report on what we saw, and that's what we're here to do.

>> reporter: and the white house t meeting is a long one.

>> we're very impressed at how involved at the highest levels this administration is.

>> george is like the master recruiter.

>> reporter: john pendergast, the head of a project that accompanied clooney to sudan and washington.

>> it's a direct line from george getting involved on an issue to a much bigger spike in public interest.

>> reporter: people are getting involved. after clooney 's visit, the white house received 50,000 e-mails. will all this be enough to stop a war half a world away ?

>> i got lucky and i feel that that luck that you get needs to be shared and one of the places you can do it is a place that has absolutely no luck at all, like the sudan .

>> and you can see our full report on a special "dateline" including some very candid and raw moments with george clooney . the special is called "the winds of war." that's tonight at 9:00 central time on nbc.

>> the clock is realisticing here.

>> 37 days until the vote that could unleash not just a war, but potentially a war of atrocities and perhaps even genocide.

>> and do you think that his voice is strong enough to -- obviously it's reached washington.

>> it's amazing, he's allowed himself by doing this to become a real mover on this issue and he has gotten the world to listen. the question is will the world for the first time actually step in and stop something like this.