"Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous."
- George Bernard Shaw
The 2009 American Peace Award is awarded to Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter. During and since Carter's presidency, both Jimmy and Rosalynn have engaged in tireless efforts to promote peace domestically and internationally, and the American Peace Award committee would like to recognize the work the two have accomplished together with this year's prize.
“There's very seldom a decision that I make that I don't
discuss with her, either to tell her after the fact what I've done,
or very frequently, to tell her my options and seek her advice.”
- Jimmy Carter
James Earl Carter, Jr. was born October 1, 1924 in Plains, Georgia. He served as president of the United States from January 20, 1977, through January 20, 1981. Significant foreign policy accomplishments from his administration included the Panama Canal treaties, the Camp David Accords, the treaty of peace between Egypt and Israel, the SALT II treaty with the Soviet Union, and the establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. He championed human rights throughout the world. On the domestic side, the administration's achievements included a comprehensive energy program conducted by a new department of energy, major educational programs under a new Department of Education, and major environmental legislation, including the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.
In 1982, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter founded the Carter Center. Actively guided by President Carter, the nonpartisan and nonprofit Center addresses national and international issues of public policy. Fellows, associates, and staff join in efforts to resolve conflict, promote democracy, protect human rights, and prevent disease and other afflictions. Through the Global 2000 programs, the center advances health and agriculture in the developing world. It has spearheaded the international effort to eradicate Guinea worm disease, which will be the second disease in history to be eliminated.
President Carter and the Carter Center have engaged in conflict mediation in Ethiopia and Eritrea, North Korea, Liberia, Haiti, Bosnia, Sudan, the Great Lakes region of Africa, Sudan and Uganda, Venezuela, Nepal, and Equador and Colombia. Under Carter's leadership, the Center has also sent 72 election monitoring missions to the Americas, Africa, and Asia.
Jimmy and Rosalynn also volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that helps needy people in the United States and other countries renovate and build homes for themselves. President Carter has authored 24 books.
“Once you get involved, the needs are so great.”
- Rosalynn Carter
Eleanor Rosalynn Smith Carter was born August 18, 1927 in Plains, Georgia. She has been involved in advocating rights for disabled persons since her membership of the Governor's Commission to Improve Services to Mentally and Emotionally Handicapped in 1971. She was named Active Honorary Chair of the President's Commission on Mental Health during her husbands presidency, which resulted in passage of the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980. While in the White House she set an example of volunteerism working with organizations such as Green Door in Washington D. C.
In 1977 she visited Jamaica, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Colomnia, and Venezuela as the President's personal representative, holding substantive meetings with polocy leaders on issues including human rights, arms reduction, demilitarization, nuclear energy, and weaponry. Upon flying to see the Cambodian refugee crisis in 1979, she successfully urged the United Nations creation of a world relief coordinator, raised millions of dollars for the cause in the US, and encouraged the president to increase U.S. quotas for refugees, permit food delivery into Cambodia, and accelerate Peace Corps efforts.
Rosalynn Carter co-founded the Carter foundation in 1982 and is a full partner with the president in all the Center's activities. She chairs the Carter Center's Mental Health Task Force, served on the Policy Advisory Board of the Atlanta Project, and hosted a "Women and the Constitution" conference. She is also president of the board of directors for the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving at Georgia Southwestern State University. She also works with Project Interconnections, an organization which provides housing for homeless people who are mentally ill. Rosalynn has authored 4 books.
(Biographical information courtesy of the Carter Center, https://www.cartercenter.org)