C. Eric Reeves '72
2006 Bicentennial Medalist

In recognition of your distinguished achievement in in stemming genocide in Sudan, Williams College is proud to honor you with its Bicentennial Medal.

By day a mild-mannered professor of English; by night, weekend, and sabbatical a dauntless campaigner against atrocities in Sudan. Beginning eight years ago as a lone voice crying out in a desert of disinterest, you have used a relentless barrage of articles, lectures, op-eds, letters to the editor, and Internet postings to draw the world’s averted eyes to “suffering a long way off.” For a while response was slow. You were the first person to provide realistic death counts in southern Sudan and Darfur and the first to identify government actions there as genocide. Your tone was hard but your cause just. As one State Department official says, “I read Eric Reeves religiously, even if he gives me heartburn.” Eventually your work snowballed into greater, harsher press attention, the engagement of activists into a citizens army, the withdrawal of western oil companies, and pressure from national governments. The head of the U.S. Committee for Refugees says, “I’ve never seen a single person in humanitarian advocacy make as much of an impact.” With progress being made, you pressed on—devoting more time, taking unpaid leaves, borrowing against your family’s home, battling while for the last three years struggling with leukemia. You began this effort by saying, “We’ll see what one very loud, very committed, very passionate voice can accomplish if it’s really, really focused, and it just doesn’t give up.” The answer is a peace accord in the south, growing intervention in Darfur, and a saving of the world’s conscience, albeit by a shred.

For more information about Eric Reeves, click here to see his in-memoriam page.