James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, Jr. was an American politician and Nobel Laureate who served as the 39th President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. Born in Plains, Georgia on October 1, 1924, Carter grew up to become an excellent student and basketball athlete. After graduating high school he entered college at Georgia Southwestern Junior College and in 1943 was admitted into the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland where he later received his bachelor’s of science degree and graduated in the top ten percent of his class. Despite his years of service, passion, and commitment to a career in the Navy, the untimely death of his father required him to resign and return home to operate his family’s peanut farm. It was after his return and success on the farm that he began delving into politics.
Carter took office as a two-term Georgian state senator amidst the turbulent racial politics of the early 60’s, of which he had a reputation as a tough and independent politician who sought to change to old ways of the South. In 1970 he was elected Governor of Georgia, where he pushed for more equality and a leaner and more efficient government. His attention soon turned to national politics, and after securing the Democratic nomination in 1976, he went on to take office as the 39th US President.
During his presidency, Carter’s most memorable achievements ended up overshadowed by national crises, such as the 1979 oil embargo, and the Iranian hostage crisis. Despite this, his presidential achievements included the Camp David Accords, ratification of the Panama Canal Treaties, and the establishment of a new national energy policy as well as the department of energy and department of education. Most of all, he oversaw establishment of formal relations between the US and China in January, 1979. He is most well-known for his dedication to human rights, international peace, protection of the environment and equality; all of which drove him to have the longest and quite possibly most successful ex-presidential career in US history.
Following Carter’s term as president, he founded the Carter Center with his wife in 1982 in partnership with Emory University. The Center is a non-governmental organization that has worked to improve the lives of people in over 70 countries by promoting peace and democracy, as well as fighting disease, hunger and poverty. He is also an accomplished author, writing 21 books on a variety of topics, including humanitarian work, aging, religion, human rights, and poetry. He is the recipient of numerous awards and is the only president to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (2002) after leaving office.
Jimmy Carter, one of the winners of the First US China Outstanding Contribution Award in 2012, holding the award at the Carter Center in Atlanta, GA.