Carter Center

Carter Center

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 Emory University, The Carter Center works to advance human rights and alleviate human suffering. 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. Norwegian Nobel Committee, 2002 Nobel Peace Prize announcement, [] , October 11, 2002, accessed December 12, 2007. ]

Guiding Principles

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 disease, river blindness, malaria, trachoma, lymphatic filariasis, and schistosomiasis, 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 others.
# 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 resources.


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 69 elections in 27 countries [ The Carter Center, [ "Elections Monitored by The Carter Center"] , accessed December 13, 2007. ]
* Helping over 8 million small-scale farmers double or triple grain production in 15 African countries [ The Carter Center, [ "How the Agriculture Program Helps Farmers in Africa"] , accessed December 13, 2007. ]
* 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 25,000 in 2007 [ The Carter Center, [ "Distribution of Dracunculiasis Cases Reported During 2006"] , accessed December 13, 2007. ]
* 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 goals. The board is chaired by John J. Moores.

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 year.

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 organizations.

The Carter Center is located next to the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum on 37 acres of parkland two miles from downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The library and museum are owned and operated separately by the United States National Archives.

Peace Programs

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 include:

Observing Elections

The Carter Center is a trusted pioneer of election observation, sending teams of observers to determine the legitimacy of 70 elections in 28 countries since 1989. [ [ "Elections Monitored by The Carter Center"] , as of July 27, 2008 ]

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. government. [ The Carter Center, [ "How does The Carter Center choose which elections to monitor?"] , accessed January 29, 2008 ]

The Center played a key role – with the U.N. Electoral Assistance Division and the National Democratic Institute – in building consensus on a common set of international principles for election observation. [ United Nations, [ "Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct for International Election Observers"] , October 27, 2005, accessed on January 29, 2008. ] It is also leading the effort to develop effective methodologies for observing elections that employ new electronic voting technologies. [ Carter Center, [ "Developing a Methodology for Observing Electronic Voting"] , October 2007, accessed January 29, 2008. ]

trengthening 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 rights, that government decisions are open and transparent, and that everyone can have adequate resources to compete fairly for public office.

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 development. [ Deborah Hakes, [ "Carter Center Field Office in Ramallah"] , May 4, 2007, accessed on January 29, 2008. ]

Democratic initiatives in Latin America 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. [ Members of the Council of Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Americas, [] ]

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 human rights. These rights include political rights, such as peace, freedom, and self-governance, as well as the social rights of health care, food, shelter, and economic opportunity.

The Center actively supports human rights defenders around the world. In partnership with Human Rights First and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Center holds an annual human rights defenders policy forum hosted by President Carter in Atlanta. [ Carter Center Human Rights Defenders Initiative, [] ]

President and Mrs. Carter have 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 and the International Criminal Court. Both oppose the death penalty and urge its abolition in the U.S.

Mediating Conflict

Recalling President Carter’s success in the White House negotiating the long-lasting peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, [ Camp David Accords, [] ] 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 negotiation.

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. [ Jimmy Carter, [ "Solving the Korean Stalemate, One Step at a Time"] , "New York Times", October 11, 2006, accessed January 29, 2008. ]
* Assisting unofficial Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in designing a model agreement for peace – called the Geneva Accord – in 2002-03. [ BBC News, [ "Moderates Launch Middle East Plan"] , December 1, 2003, accessed January 29, 2008. ]
* Negotiation of the Nairobi Agreement in 1999 between Sudan and Uganda [ Carter Center Press Release, [ "Agreement Between Governments of Sudan and Uganda, Nairobi Agreement"] , December 8, 1999, accessed on January 29, 2008. ]
* 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. [ Larry Rohter, [ "Carter, in Haiti, Pursues Peaceful Shift"] , "New York Times", September 18, 1994, accessed on January 29, 2008. ]
* President Carter’s historic trip to Cuba in 2002 to seek improved U.S.-Cuban relations [ BBC News, [ "Lift Cuba embargo, Carter tells U.S."] , May 15, 2002, accessed on January 29, 2008. ]
* Negotiation of a cease-fire in 1995 in Sudan to allow humanitarian groups treat Guinea worm disease and river blindness and immunize children.
* Holding summits in Egypt and Tunisia in 1995-96 to address violence in the Great Lakes region of Africa [ Carter Center Press Release, [ "African Leaders Gather to Address Great Lakes Crisis"] , May 2, 1996, accessed on January 29, 2008. ]
* An 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, 2008. [cite press release | title = Ecuador and Colombia Presidents Accept President Carter's Proposal to Renew Diplomatic Relations at the Level of Chargé d'Affaires, Immediately and Without Preconditions | publisher = The Carter Center | date = 2008-06-08 | url = | accessdate = 2008-06-08] [cite news | title = Colombia, Ecuador restore ties under deal with Carter | publisher = Thomson Reuters | date = 2008-06-08 | url = | accessdate = 2008-06-08]

Assisting China Village Elections

Since 1988, the Chinese government has authorized direct village elections 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 Congress deputies.

Health Programs

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, governments, nongovernmental organizations, and corporations and on working with ministries of health to strengthen or establish permanent health care delivery systems in the poorest nations.

Leading Disease Eradication Efforts

When The Carter Center began spearheading the campaign to eradicate Guinea worm in 1986, there were 3.5 million cases of the disease in 20 countries in Africa and Asia. Today, there are approximately 10,000 cases, and most of these are in just two countries: Sudan and Ghana. [ WHO Collaborating Center for Research, Training and Eradication of Dracunculiasis, [ "Guinea Worm Wrap-Up #178"] , Press Release, January 11, 2008, accessed February 4, 2008. ] Guinea worm is poised to be the first parasitic disease eliminated from earth and the only disease to be eradicated without the use of vaccines or medicines.

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, larvicide, and medical kits. [ Donald G. McNeil, Jr., [ "Dose of Tenacity Wears Down a Horrific Disease"] , "New York Times", March 26, 2006, accessed February 4, 2008. ]

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, poliomyelitis, mumps, rubella, lymphatic filariasis, and cysticercosis. [ International Task Force for Disease Eradication, [] ]

Implementing Disease Control and Treatment Measures

Since 1996, the Center has been a leader in the fight against onchocerciasis, commonly known as river blindness – a parasitic disease transmitted by the bites of black flies.

The Center has worked to stop spread of the disease in 11 countries across Africa 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 2012. [ Onchocerciasis Elimination Program of the Americas, [] ]

The Center has distributed more than 100 million doses of Mectizan – a drug donated by Merck & Co., Inc., that treats and prevents river blindness. [ Mectizan Donation Program, [] ]

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 Health Organization’s four-pronged approach – called the SAFE strategy – to fight trachoma in six African countries. [ Paul M. Emerson, Matthew Burton, Anthony W. Solomon, Robin Bailey, & David Mabey, [ "The SAFE strategy for trachoma control: using operational research for policy, planning and implementation"] , "WHO", August 2006, accessed February 4, 2008. ] The Trachoma Control Program is working to improve sanitation in those communities by building latrines, providing corrective surgery, distributing antibiotics, and educating communities on basic hygiene.

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 is spread. [ Mark Bixler, [ "Latrine program a hit: project deals with health, gender"] , "Atlanta Journal-Constitution", March 5, 2005, accessed February 4, 2008. ]

Lymphatic filariasis and malaria 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. [ Carter Center, [ "New Malaria Program Blankets Areas of Ethiopia with Bed Nets"] , "Carter Center News", June 12, 2007, accessed February 4, 2008. ]

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.

Since 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.

trengthening agricultural production

In partnership with the Sasakawa Africa Association, the Center has worked since 1986 in 15 sub-Saharan African countries to teach 8-10 million small-scale farmers improved techniques that double or triple their crop yields. [ Sasakawa Africa Association, [] ]

The program promotes use of fertilizers and crop protection chemicals, soil fertility, 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 security, establish farmers' associations, and use quality food crops such as high-protein maize.

Reducing stigma of mental illness

Rosalynn Carter 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 75 journalists have participated in the program. [ Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism, [] ]


President Carter 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. [ [ "1999 Delta Prize Announcement: The Carter Center"] , April 27, 1999, accessed January 30, 2008. ]

In 2006, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation presented The Carter Center with the Gates Award for Global Health. [ [ "2006 Gates Award for Global Health: The Carter Center"] , 2006, accessed January 30, 2008. ]

"Beyond the White House"

"Beyond the White House: Waging Peace, Fighting Disease, Building Hope" chronicles the 25 years of The Carter Center. It was written by President Carter and published October 2, 2007, by Simon & Schuster.


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. [J. Michael Waller, PDFlink| [ "What to Do about Venezuela?"] |75.0 KiB Occasional Papers 6 Center for Security Policy May 2005, accessed February 5, 2007.] Doug Schoen told 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 last week. Carter is untroubled by any of this, and declares that Chavez won 'fair and square.'" [ [ The National Interest: Exit polls in Venezuela (8/20/04) ] ] [ [ The Wall Street Journal Online - Featured Article ] ] [ [ Mongo's Mutterings: The Jimmah Carter-Hugo Chavez Connection ] ]

The release of President Carter's book "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid" 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.

Regarding global health program, numerous NGOs have reported great difficulties working with the Carter Center, as the organization rarely wants to work collaboratively, and has often slighted or not acknowledged the work completed by various NGOs and private sector firms involved in their work.


External links

* [ The Carter Center's website]
* [ The Jimmy Carter Library and Museum's website]

ee also

*List of non-governmental organizations in the People's Republic of China
*"Palestine Peace Not Apartheid"

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