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Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter

Tireless in his efforts for peace,
democracy, dignity, fairness, and
decent housing for the peoples of the world.

Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, 2002

Jimmy Carter helping build 100 Habitat for Humanity houses in Houston, Texas 1998


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James Earl Carter, Jr. was born October 1, 1924, in Plains, Georgia. He uses the name Jimmy instead of his formal name. Important aspects of his childhood was the family business of peanut farming, politics, and the Baptist (Christian) faith. His father was a farmer and a local legislator. His mother was a nurse who was inspiringly generous and compassionate --- in her later years Carter's mother joined the Peace Corps. Carter studied at Georgia Southwestern College and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Jimmy Carter graduated in 1946 from the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and he married Rosalynn Smith. The Carters have three sons, John William (Jack), James Earl III (Chip), Donnel Jeffrey (Jeff), and a daughter, Amy Lynn.

After seven years as a naval officer, Carter returned to Plains, Georgia, his home town, and took over the family business, peanut farming. He was successful as a businessman and a civic leader. In 1961 Carter and his wife built a modest home, where he lives today.  In 1962 he entered state politics, and in 1970 he was elected Governor of Georgia. Among the new style of young southern governors at that time who believed in equality, fairness and environmentalism, he attracted attention by emphasizing the removal of racial barriers, ecology, and efficiency in government. Back to Top

Carter was elected the 39th President of the United States, serving from 1977 to 1981.  As president of the US, he worked hard to bring peace between Egypt and Israel by initiating and moderating the Camp David agreement of 1978. During his presidential administration, Carter established full diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. Overcoming difficult relations between the US and the Soviet Union, Carter completed negotiation of the SALT II nuclear limitation treaty with the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, he withdrew the US from the treaty. The seizure as hostages of the U. S. embassy staff in Iran dominated the news during the last 14 months of the administration. The consequences of Iran's holding Americans captive, together with continuing inflation at home, contributed to lowered popularity and Carter's re-election defeat in the 1980 US presidential elections. Even then, he continued the difficult negotiations over the American hostages in Iran. The day that Iran finally released the 52 Americans was the last day Carter was in office. He brought the hostages home.

Year by year Carter presidential biography

Since leaving the presidency, Carter and his wife Rosalynn have been involved with building homes, all over the world, for the poor in the Habitat for Humanity program. Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, nondenominational Christian housing organization which, since 1976, has built more than 100,000 houses in more than 60 countries, including some 30,000 houses across the United States. He hammers a straight nail and works humbly side by side with all the volunteers as a common citizen. In 1982 Carter and his wife Rosalynn founded The Carter Center to promote human rights, democracy and health care.

His work at The Carter Center has given Jimmy Carter world-wide recognition as an international mediator and promoter of democracy and human rights. He has traveled the world mediating conflicts and monitoring elections, in East Timor, the West Bank, Haiti, and most recently in Jamaica.  Carter visited Cuba in May 2002, the first US president to do so since 1959 when Fidel Castro assumed power in a communist revolution. Carter spoke on Cuban national television and urged Castro to expand civil liberties and allow reform through fair elections. In Cuba Carter also publicly urged the US government to lift sanctions against Cuba.    Back to Top

In October 2002 Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. According to the Nobel Prize Committee Chairman Gunnar Berge, "Carter has stood by the principles that conflicts must as far as possible be resolved through mediation and international cooperation based on international law." Jimmy Carter was awarded the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his "untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development."  Shortly after receiving the prize, Carter left for Jamaica to observe the strife-filled Jamaican national elections. Nobel Committee Chairman Berge noted that the choice of Carter, who opposes unilateral US military action against Iraq --- the impending war --- should be interpreted by the world as a criticism of the efforts of US President Bush to attack Iraq rather than search for other, non-violent resolution of the present crisis.

His dedication to peace and the compassionate work of Jimmy Carter is a continuing inspiration to all people. Carter is a leader with ideals and the perseverance to work energetically toward those ideals, to make the world a better place, to bring fairness, equality, and decency, basic human rights, to all people. Jimmy Carter is a peace hero for the world.


"One of the most basic principles for making and keeping peace within and between nations is that in political, military, moral, and spiritual confrontations, there should be an honest attempt at the reconciliation of differences before resorting to combat." Jimmy Carter; Source


"You can do what you have to do, and sometimes you can do it even better than you think you can." - Jimmy Carter; date unknown

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"To be true to ourselves, we must be true to others. We will not behave in foreign places so as to violate our rules and standards here at home, for we know that the trust which our Nation earns is essential to our strength." -- Jimmy Carter; from Inaugural Address Jan. 20, 1977


"We are a purely idealistic Nation, but let no one confuse our idealism with weakness."--Jimmy Carter; from Inaugural Address Jan. 20, 1977


"I would hope that the nations of the world might say that we had built a lasting peace, built not on weapons of war but on international policies which reflect our own most precious values." -- Jimmy Carter; from Inaugural Address Jan. 20, 1977


"I don't think it's appropriate for the president of the United States…to call for the removal of an elected leader."  --- Jimmy Carter; comment on President Bush's call for removal of Yasser Arafat as leader of the Palestinians; speech at National Geographic Center July 11, 2002.  The Carter Center monitored 1996 Palestinian Authority election that put Arafat in power.


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"If you doubt you can accomplish something, then you can't accomplish it. You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through." - Rosalynn Carter; date not known



The Carter Center  |  The Carter Library  |  Habitat for Humanity

US-Iraq War  - March 8, 2003 Essay by Jimmy Carter  "Just War Or a Just War?"

A Conversation On Peacemaking With Jimmy Carter. Washington, DC: National Institute for Dispute Resolution, 1992

Lotsa Links Page to more Jimmy Carter biographies, facts, books, speeches

Jimmy Carter defuses a North Korea crisis - an excerpt from Leon V. Sigal's book, Disarming Strangers: Nuclear Diplomacy with North Korea

Painting of Jimmy Carter, proceeds to support Habitat for Humanity

Poem by Jimmy Carter about the universe

Carter's October 2000 statement about his Baptist faith and disassociation from the Southern Baptist Convention

And from the Oddity of Oddities Department, Jimmy Carter once saw a UFO in Leary, Georgia on Sept. 18, 1973. "It was the darndest thing I've ever seen. It was big, it was very bright, it changed colors and it was about the size of the moon. We watched it for ten minutes, but none of us could figure out what it was. One thing's for sure, I'll never make fun of people who say they've seen unidentified objects in the sky. If I become President, I'll make every piece of information this country has about UFO sightings available to the public and the scientists."

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