Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter

 

James Earl “Jimmy” Carter was the 39th president of the United States and the only president to receive a Nobel Peace Prize after leaving office. During his single term in office he negotiated the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, which has lasted until today.

Carter was born on October 1, 1924 in the state of Georgia. After a career in the U.S. Navy, Carter returned to Georgia to help run his family's peanut farm which he helped make into a successful business.

Carter was elected to the Senate in 1961, where he served for two terms representing Georgia. He left the Senate to run for the governorship of his home state in 1966. He lost the race, but made an impressive showing, finishing third in the final vote tally. He then returned home to tend to his peanut farming business and prepare for the 1970 elections for governor, which he won. He was sworn in as Georgia's 76th governor on January 12, 1971.

He later became the Democratic National Committee campaign chairman for the 1974 congressional and gubernatorial elections. On December 12, 1974, he announced his candidacy for president and won the Democratic Party's nomination on the first ballot at the 1976 Democratic National Convention. He was elected president on November 2, 1976.

During his term as president - from January 20, 1977, to January 20, 1981 - the U.S. signed the Panama Canal treaties, mediated the Camp David Accords, signed the SALT II treaty with the Soviet Union and the established U.S. diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. The final year of his administration was marred by the Iran hostage crisis, which contributed to his loss in his 1980 campaign for re-election to Republican candidate Ronald Reagan.

Following his defeat in the presidential election, Carter returned to Georgia. In the years that followed he established the Carter Center, taught at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and wrote numerous books. He also helped draw up the Geneva Accord Mideast peace plan.

His book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” gained him notoriety in Israel and sparked criticism from Jewish leaders in the United States. In an interview aired on Israel Radio in 2006, Carter said that Israeli policy in the West Bank represented instances of apartheid worse even that those that once in place in South Africa.

Carter rejected the criticism of the book and its use of the word apartheid, telling the Atlanta Press Club, “The greatest commitment in my life has been trying to bring peace to Israel.” In 2009, he apologized to the American Jewish community for "stigmatizing Israel."

On December 10, 2002, Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development."

A devout Christian, Carter has been married to Rosalynn Smith Carter for more than six decades; they have four children, 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.