The Carter Center
is a nongovernmental,
not-for-profit organization founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter
and his wife Rosalynn Carter
. In partnership with
University, The Carter
Center works to advance human rights and alleviate human
The Center is governed by a Board of Trustees,
consisting of many prominent business persons, educators, former
government officials, and eminent philanthropists. The
Atlanta-based center has helped to improve the quality of life for
people in more than 70 countries. In 2002, President Carter
received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work “to find peaceful
solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and
human rights, and to promote economic and social development”
through The Carter Center.
Beyond the White House: Waging Peace, Fighting Disease,
chronicles the 25 years of The Carter Center. It
was written by President Carter
published October 2, 2007, by Simon
The Center’s motto – “Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building
Hope.” – highlights the two core program areas for Carter Center
activities. Peace Programs strengthen democracy, mediate and
prevent conflicts, advance human rights, and monitor elections
around the world. Health Programs seek the control and eradication
of diseases such as Guinea worm
, work to diminish
the stigma against mental illnesses, and improve nutrition through
increased crop production in Africa.
Work in these areas is guided by five principles:
- The Center emphasizes action and results. Based on careful
research and analysis, it is prepared to take timely action on
important and pressing issues.
- The Center does not duplicate the effective efforts of
- The Center addresses difficult problems and recognizes the
possibility of failure as an acceptable risk.
- The Center is nonpartisan and acts as a neutral party in
dispute resolution activities.
- The Center believes that people can improve their lives when
provided with the necessary skills, knowledge, and access to
The Center was founded in 1982 and dedicated in 1986 with William Foege
as its executive director. John
Hardman was appointed executive director in 1993, and during the
1990s the Center received several multi-million dollar donations to
fight Guinea worm disease and to prevent blindness.
The Center strives to give millions of the world’s poorest people
access to skills and knowledge they can use to identify solutions
that will improve their own lives.In its first 25 years, the Center
achieved a number of milestones, including:
- Observation of more than 70 elections in 33 countries
- Helping over 8 million small-scale farmers double or triple
grain production in 15 African countries
- Creating avenues to peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eritrea,
Ethiopia, Haiti, Liberia, North Korea, Sudan, and Uganda
- Reducing cases of Guinea worm disease worldwide from 3.5
million in 1986 to fewer than 5,000 in 2008
- Strengthening international standards for human rights and the
voices of individuals defending those rights
- Advancing efforts to improve mental health care and diminish
the stigma against people with mental illness
The Center is governed by a board of trustees, which oversees the
organization’s assets and property and promotes its objectives and
A community advisory group – the Board of Councilors – includes
public and private-sector leaders who support The Carter Center and
its activities in their communities and organizations. Members
attend quarterly presentations on the Center’s work.
President and CEO John Hardman oversees the Center’s day-to-day
operations and staff of 160, which includes international experts
in the fields of peace and health. More than 100 student interns
from universities around the world assist the staff each
Center-based councils of eminent persons who offer guidance to or
participate in Center activities include: the Council of Presidents
and Prime Ministers of the Americas, the International Council for
Conflict Resolution, the International Task Force for Disease
Eradication, and the Mental Health Task Force. The Carter Center
also collaborates with other public and private
Center is located next to the Jimmy Carter
Library and Museum on of parkland two miles (3 km) from downtown
Atlanta, Georgia. The library and museum are owned and operated
separately by the United States National Archives and Records
The Center’s peace programs work to advance human rights
, strengthen democracy
, promote economic development
, and prevent and
resolve conflict. Major Center initiatives in these areas
The Carter Center is a trusted pioneer of election observation
, sending teams of
observers to determine the legitimacy of 77 elections
in 33 countries since 1989.
Carter Center observers analyze election laws, assess voter
education and registration processes, and evaluate fairness in
campaigns. The presence of impartial election observers deters
interference or fraud in the voting process, and reassures voters
that they can safely and secretly cast their ballots and that vote
tabulation will be conducted without tampering.
Teams typically include 30-100 highly qualified impartial observers
– regional leaders, political scientists, regional specialists, and
election observation professionals.
The Carter Center sends observers only when invited by a country’s
electoral authorities and welcomed by the major political parties.
Observers do not interfere in the electoral process and do not
represent the U.S.
The Center played a key role – with the U.N.
Electoral Assistance Division and the
– in building consensus on a common set of
international principles for election observation. It is also
leading the effort to develop effective methodologies for observing
elections that employ new electronic voting technologies.
Strengthening democracy beyond elections
The Carter Center supports the growth of democratic institutions
to ensure that there is a
respect for rule of law and human
, that government decisions are open and transparent, and
that everyone can have adequate resources to compete fairly for
example, the Center is supporting the efforts of civic leaders in
Ethiopia to convene
discussions about the most pressing and contentious political and
social issues facing the country, and in the Palestinian
Territories, it maintains a small presence in Ramallah focused on
the ongoing monitoring and analysis of critical issues of
Democratic initiatives in Latin
include support for regional access-to-information
programs, creation of an inter-American support network, and reform
of political campaign financing. The Center-based Council of
Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Americas plays an important
role in accomplishing these objectives.
The Carter Center also promotes the dissemination to emerging
democracies and regional organizations of models, lessons, and best
practices for democratic governance. The goal is to empower those
in transitioning countries who are trying to build stronger
democratic institutions and practices.
Advancing human rights
The Carter Center believes all people are entitled to basic
. These rights include
political rights, such as peace, freedom, and self-governance, as
well as the social rights of health care, food, shelter, and
The Center actively supports human
around the world. In partnership with Human Rights First
and the U.N.
Commissioner for Human Rights, the Center holds an annual human
rights defenders policy forum hosted by President Carter in Atlanta.
President and Mrs. Carter
intervened with heads of state on behalf of human rights defenders
and victims for
more than 20 years. They often take their human rights concerns to
heads of state in personal meetings and through letters.
The Center and President Carter are strong supporters of the
U.N. Human Rights Council
the International Criminal
. Both oppose the death
and urge its abolition in the U.S.
Recalling President Carter’s success in the White House negotiating
the long-lasting peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, groups in
conflict turn to The Carter Center to help them prevent and resolve
conflict. Lacking any official authority, the Center has become a
trusted broker for peace, serving as a channel for dialogue and
Recent examples include:
- President Carter’s mission to North Korea in 1994, which paved the way for a U.S.-North Korea
pact on nuclear issues.
- Assisting unofficial Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in
designing a model agreement for peace – called the Geneva Accord – in 2002-03.
- Negotiation of the Nairobi Agreement in 1999 between
Sudan and Uganda
- President Carter’s mission to Haiti in 1994 with
Senator Sam Nunn and the then former
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell to avert a U.S.-led multinational
invasion and restore to power Haiti’s democratically elected
- President Carter’s historic trip to Cuba in 2002 to
seek improved U.S.-Cuban
- Negotiation of a cease-fire in 1995 in
Sudan to allow humanitarian groups treat Guinea worm
disease and river blindness and
- Holding summits in Egypt and Tunisia in 1995-96 to address violence in the Great Lakes
region of Africa
agreement on the restoration of low-level diplomatic relations between
Colombia and Ecuador under a deal brokered by the former president, as
announced by the Carter Center on June 8,
Assisting China village elections
Since 1988, the Chinese
has authorized direct village
to help maintain social and political order in the
context of rapid economic reforms. At the invitation of China’s
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Carter Center initiated a joint
project in 1998 to standardize Chinese village election procedures
and assist in training of election officials and elected National People’s
The Center has prevented the suffering of millions of people around
the world from illnesses often ignored by others. Health programs
seek to provide people with the information and access to services
they need to treat their illnesses and take steps to prevent future
spread of disease
. An emphasis is placed on
building partnerships for change among international agencies,
, nongovernmental organizations
and on working with
ministries of health to strengthen or establish permanent health care
delivery systems in the poorest
Disease eradication efforts
When The Carter Center began spearheading the campaign to eradicate
Guinea worm disease worldwide in 1986. At the time, there were
about 3.5 million annual cases of the disease in 20 countries in
there were 4,619 reported cases and 98% of these were in just three
countries: Sudan, Ghana, and
Guinea worm disease is poised to be the
first parasitic disease
eradicated and the only disease to be eradicated without the use of
The Carter Center is uniquely positioned to lead an international
campaign to eradicate Guinea worm disease, possessing access to
international leaders, technical expertise, and strong partnerships
with local, national, and international agencies.
Within affected countries, the Center reinforces existing disease eradication
programs by providing technical and financial assistance, as well
as logistics and tools, such as donated filter cloth material,
, and medical kits.
The International Task Force for Disease Eradication has been based
at The Carter Center since its formation in 1988. The group has
reviewed more than 100 infectious diseases and identified six as
potentially eradicable – dracunculiasis
, lymphatic filariasis
, and cysticercosis
Implementing disease control and treatment measures
Since 1996, the Center has been a leader in the fight against
, commonly known as
river blindness – a parasitic
transmitted by the bites of black flies.
The Center has worked to stop spread of the disease in 11 countries
and the Americas
by helping residents and local health
workers institute and sustain drug treatment programs and health
education activities. The international river blindness campaign
seeks to eliminate the disease from the Western Hemisphere by
The Center has distributed more than 100 million doses of Mectizan
– a drug donated by Merck & Co.,
Inc., that treats and prevents river blindness.
Center health workers also prevent transmission of trachoma
– a bacterial infection that is the
leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide. Trachoma
is prevalent in places that lack the tools
for basic hygiene, clean water, and adequate sanitation.
The Center follows the World
four-pronged approach – called the SAFE
strategy – to fight trachoma in six African countries. The Trachoma
Control Program is working to improve sanitation in those
communities by building latrines
corrective surgery, distributing antibiotics
, and educating communities on basic
Since 2004, The Carter Center has helped to build nearly 500,000
latrines in its effort to fight trachoma.
The latrines contain and prevent human waste from serving as a
breeding ground for the disease-carrying flies, thereby reducing
one way the disease
are mosquito-born diseases also
targeted by The Carter Center. The Center has distributed 3 million
long-lasting insecticidal bed nets in
Ethiopia. It has also established drug distribution
systems in Nigeria to treat and stem the spread of lymphatic
filariasis and schistosomiasis.
Training public health workers
The Carter Center believes in building networks of village-based
health care workers to treat people for various diseases at the
same time. Emphasis is on helping national and local governments
establish programs that they can sustain into the future.
1997, the Center established with the Ethiopian ministries of health and
education the Ethiopia Public Health Training Initiative to
improve academic training for health care personnel in Ethiopia and increase access to health care in rural communities
throughout the country.
Strengthening agricultural production
In partnership with the Sasakawa Africa Association, the Center has
worked since 1986 in 15 sub-Saharan
countries to teach 8-10 million small-scale farmers
improved techniques that double or triple their crop yields.
The program promotes use of fertilizers
and crop protection
, and environmentally
friendly agronomic methods of crop production. It also supports
efforts to construct quality grain storage to sustain market prices
for the farmer and ensure greater food
, establish farmers' associations, and use quality food
crops such as high-protein maize
Reducing stigma of mental illness
leads the Center’s
efforts to fight stigma associated with mental illness
. The Center works to improve
U.S. public policies that can help prevent mental illnesses and
increase equity in mental health care
holding an annual symposium with national leaders in mental health
and other fields.
The Center also seeks to raise public awareness of mental health
issues globally through the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental
Health Journalism, which enable journalists to explore mental
health issues. To date, more than 100 journalists have participated
in the program.
received the Nobel Peace Prize
in 2002 for his work
through The Carter Center. The Carter Center received the inaugural
Delta Prize for Global Understanding in 1999 – an award
administered by the University of Georgia.
In 2006, the Bill
& Melinda Gates Foundation
presented The Carter Center with
the Gates Award for Global Health.
The Carter Center's funding by Saudi Arabia and other Middle
Eastern countries has been criticized. It has been suggested that
the Carter Center's consistent criticism of Israel, while calling
the United Arab Emirates "almost completely free and open" has been
influenced by the fact that some of the Center's funding comes from
Middle Eastern sources.
According to The Carter Center, 3 percent of the total amount of
contributions the Center has received since its founding in 1982
have been from donors in Mideast Arab nations. Before his death in
2005, Saudi Arabia's King Fahd made several large donations to the
Center, including a 1993 gift of $7.6 million. As of 2005, the
king's nephew, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, had given at least $5
million to the Carter Center. In 2001 the government of the United
Arab Emirates gave the Center $500,000. The previous year, ten of
Osama bin Laden's brothers had jointly pledged $1 million, as did
Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman in 1998. The Saudi Fund for
Development has been another major contributor, as well as the
Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. In addition, Morocco's
Prince Moulay Hicham Ben Abdallah has collaborated with the Carter
Center on various initiatives.
Of the donations from the Middle East, the Center states:
"Seventy-eight percent of those funds have helped to support health
programs in Africa, 14 percent have gone to the institution's
endowment, 4 percent were for original construction of buildings at
headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and 4 percent for projects to
directly promote peace, such as specific election
The statement continues, "The Carter Center practices full
disclosure of all of its contributions. All donations of $1,000 or
more are published in its Annual Reports, available for download at
. Its income and expenditures
every year are audited by internationally recognized auditing
firms. President and Mrs. Carter have never accepted a salary from
The Carter Center, and the honorariums they have received for
awards or speeches have been contributed to The Carter Center or
other charitable organizations, including funds from the 2002 Nobel
The Carter Center occasionally receives criticism for its election
observation work. Some individuals have disputed the Center’s
endorsement of the electoral process in the Venezuelan recall
referendum of 2004. Doug Schoen
Michael Barone at U.S. News and World Report
"Our internal sourcing tells us that there was fraud in the
Venezuelan central commission. There are widespread reports of
irregularities and evidence of fraud, many of them ably recorded by
Mary Anastasia O'Grady in the Wall Street Journal
week. Carter is untroubled by any of this, and declares that Chavez
won 'fair and square.'"
The release of President Carter's
Palestine Peace Not
created controversy for The Carter Center.
Dr. Kenneth W. Stein
resigned his position as a Center
fellow, and this was followed by the resignation of 14 members of
the Board of Councilors. However, none of the Center's governing
board of trustees resigned.
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| Carter Center
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of Dracunculiasis, "Guinea Worm Wrap-Up #178", Press Release,
January 11, 2008, accessed December 19, 2008.
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Disease", New York Times, March 26, 2006, accessed
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Bailey, & David Mabey, "The SAFE strategy for trachoma control: using operational
research for policy, planning and implementation",
WHO, August 2006, accessed December 19, 2008.
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gender", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 5, 2005,
accessed December 19, 2008.
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with Bed Nets", Carter Center News, June 12, 2007,
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- To see Jimmy Carter's true allegiances, just follow the money
- EX-PRESIDENT FOR SALE
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last accessed November 4, 2009
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- USNews.com: The National Interest: Exit polls in
- The Wall Street Journal Online - Featured
- Mongo's Mutterings: The Jimmah Carter-Hugo Chavez