Carter, 39th President of the United States of
America, was born in Plains, Georgia, in October
1924. He attended Georgia Southwestern College
and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and received
a B.S. degree from the United States Naval Academy
in 1946. In the Navy he became a submariner, serving
in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets and rising
to the rank of lieutenant, senior grade.
July 1946, Jimmy Carter married Rosalynn Smith
of Plains. When his father died in 1953, he resigned
his naval commission and returned with his family
to Georgia. Jimmy operated Carter's Warehouse,
a general-purpose seed and farm supply company
in Plains, until being elected to the Georgia
Senate in 1962. In 1971 he became Georgia's 76th
Carter announced his candidacy for President of
the United States on December 12 1974. As the
Democratic Party nominee, he was elected President
on November 2 1976, serving from 1977 to 1981.
Significant foreign policy accomplishments of
his administration include the Panama Canal treaties,
the Camp David Accords, the treaty of peace between
Egypt and Israel, the SALT II treaty with the
Soviet Union, and the establishment of US diplomatic
relations with the People's Republic of China.
Carter has championed human rights throughout
the world. On the domestic side, the administration's
achievements included a comprehensive energy programme
conducted by a new Department of Energy; deregulation
in energy, transportation, communications and
finance; major educational programmes under a
new Department of Education; and major environmental
protection legislation that doubled the size of
the national park system. (Credit:
'elders' launch new alliance, by Danna Harman
- 19th July 2007
The Christian Science Monitor)
Mandela, Jimmy Carter, and others formed a group
to articulate new approaches to global issues.
South Africa - It was about as high-level a gathering
of former leaders as one could imagine.
President Jimmy Carter was there. Former Irish
President Mary Robinson was in attendance. Kofi
Annan, who just stepped down as Secretary General
of the United Nations, was sitting tall.
on the far side of the small stage, relaxing with
a hint of a smile on his face, was the most famous
former leader of them all and the man who had
brought them together for the occasion –
former South African President Nelson Mandela.
is what this clutch of influential men and women
are calling themselves. And Wednesday, on Mandela's
89th birthday, they gathered here in Constitution
Hill (a former complex where Mandela and other
political prisoners were held under apartheid)
to unveil their new global initiative and explain
group of elders will bring hope and wisdom back
into the world," said British businessman
Richard Branson. He and his friend, the rock star
Peter Gabriel, came up with the idea and pushed
for the creation of such a group. "The elders
will play a role in bringing us together to help
unnecessary human suffering and to celebrate the
wonderful world we are privileged to be part of."
other members of the group of elders, announced
yesterday, are Graça Machel, a Mozambican
human rights activist and Mandela's wife (they
celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary Wednesday);
Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi who won the 2006
Nobel Peace Prize for his work in extending loans
to impoverished borrowers; and Li Zhaoxing, China's
foreign minister, until this year.
chair was left empty on the stage for another
elder who was unable to travel to South Africa
yesterday – human rights activist and Nobel
Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
Bhatt, a women's trade union leader in India,
and former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem
Brundtland, two other members of the elders, were
absent from the launch.
of a 'global village'
all live in a global village, but what is the
state of that global village? No one country,
no matter how powerful, can resolve our problems,"
said Mr. Annan, listing problems such as "poverty,
environmental degradation, infectious diseases,
international organized crime, and weapons of
mass destruction," as some of those the group
would be turning its attention to.
an interview with the Monitor, Mr. Carter explained
that the elders hope to articulate new approaches
to global issues and share wisdom by "helping
to connect voices all over the world." He
was quick to add that they would work to complement,
not duplicate or compete with, the efforts of
other organizations and leaders.
why "elders" such as themselves would
be able to solve some of the very problems that
dogged them when they were in power, Carter suggested
that being free agents would make the task easier.
were problems [in the past] that we [as leaders]
did not solve because of a lack of time, or because
of very intense pressures from our own constituencies,
or because we were too bogged down with multiple,
simultaneous questions to answer," says Carter.
"But the elders ... have complete freedom
to escape from the restrains of political niceties
and be able to do as Nelson Mandela pointed out
– we can talk to anyone and become involved
in any issue."
elders declined to elaborate on which issues they
would first address. But, at a press conference
following the announcement, Ms. Robinson hinted
that they might focus on human rights.
are coming up to the 60th anniversary of the universal
declaration of human rights," she said, adding
that they might want to play a role in "reframing
the agenda of human rights."
principle of universal human rights has become
very politicized. There are double standards and
people feel alienated," she explained. "The
elders can make it a living document … that
we can certainly do."
idea to put together such a group came about before
the Iraq war, said Mr. Gabriel and Mr. Branson
in interviews with the Monitor.
were chewing the fat, as we do quite regularly,
and Richard had Madiba [Mandela] coming to the
house," recalled Gabriel. "That was
the first time that it was mentioned to him."
had seen Mandela had spoken out vehemently against
the [Iraq] war and I contacted him to see if he
would go to Iraq and try and get Saddam Hussein
to go live in Libya," says Branson.
was willing, but two weeks later, before he was
able to begin such a mission, the war had already
begun. "An elder or a group of elders could
have persuaded Hussein to leave and we would have
avoided the war," says Branson.
elders, said Robinson, had already begun working
and the group would meet "as often as was
by Branson, Gabriel closed off the ceremony by
singing his old hit song "Biko" about
Stephen Biko, an anti-apartheid activist who died
in police custody in 1977. Tears flowed as the
audience hummed to the music.
Carter faces down security in Darfur - 3rd October
The Associated Press)
FASHER, Sudan: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter
vowed Wednesday he would hold world powers to
their pledge of ending the "crime against
humanity" taking place in Darfur by deploying
a strong peacekeeping force and ensuring democratic
Peace laureates Carter and Desmond Tutu of South
Africa headed a delegation known as "the
Elders" made up of respected international
figures seeking to promote peace. The group made
Darfur in western Sudan its first mission.
just a retired politician, but I'll certainly
do my best to remind the international community
it must fulfill its commitments," toward
ending Darfur's crisis, Carter said in an exclusive
interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday
as he was ending his tour of the war-torn Sudanese
describing the conflict, which has claimed 200,000
lives and resulted in more than 2.5 million refugees
as a crime, Carter said he disagreed with U.S.
George W. Bush and others who call it a genocide.
was definitely a genocide; what Hitler did to
the Jews was; but I don't think it's the case
in Darfur," said the former president. "I
think Darfur is a crime against humanity, but
done on a micro scale. A dozen janjaweed attacking
here and there," he said, noting that fact
that so many refugees have survived the violence.
don't think the commitment was to exterminate
a whole group of people, but to chase them from
their water holes and lands, killing them in the
process at random," he said. "I think
you can call it ethnic cleansing."
deplored that it had taken such a long time for
the international community to mobilize over Darfur,
since the conflict erupted in 2003 when ethnic
Africans rebelled against the government, charging
it with neglect.
of Iraq, this crisis had been simmering at a lower
level," Carter said. "But now, I don't
think the attention will wane."
did go out of his way to praise Bush for his efforts
to end in 2005 Sudan's other great conflict, the
two-decade old civil war between the north and
urged Bush on his inauguration day to change policy
and seek peace in Sudan," Carter said. "I
disagree with Bush on just about everything else,
but I give him credit for bringing peace in Sudan."
his tour of Darfur, Carter got a taste of the
Sudanese regime's interference with those seeking
to help ethnic African civilians when a local
state security official barred him from meeting
a refugee delegate in the town of Kabkabiya in
North Darfur, a stronghold of the pro-government
janjaweed militias accused of the worst atrocities.
later played down the incident, saying the Sudanese
national security official had "only been
doing his job."
it's true that I'm not accustomed to people telling
me I can't walk down the street and meet people,"
Carter said after having returned to a United
Nations compound in El Fasher, the capital of
North Darfur state.
of the community leaders the mission met during
its two-day visit to Darfur appeared to be government-vetted,
and several ethnic African delegates told AP they
had been intimidated by authorities into turning
down invitations from the Elders.
government denies it has indiscriminately retaliated
against ethnic African civilians in the course
of putting down the rebellion, but the International
Criminal Court in The Hague has issued warrants
against a Sudanese cabinet minister and a janjaweed
chief on 52 counts of crimes against humanity
and war crimes.
Elders' visit came at a crucial time for Darfur,
with a peacekeeping mission of 26,000 United Nations
and African Union troops set to come in, and new
peace talks between the government and rebels
due to begin later this month.
Sunday, 10 peacekeepers from the current AU force
were slain when rebels overran their base in Haskanita,
some 150 kilometers south east of El Fasher.
Martin Agwai, the AU troops' commander, told the
Elders that the 7,000-strong force was ill-equipped
to fight off the attackers. Agwai said it had
also taken over 12 hours to evacuate injured peacekeepers
from Haskanita because the AU currently doesn't
have its own helicopters.
said it was "awful" that the AU had
come to pacify a region nearly the size of France
without the proper gear, funds or armament. The
Elders vowed to push for countries to support
to the new, hybrid U.N.-AU force due to take over
on Jan. 1, and said they would draw up a list
of advice for the new Darfur peace talks in neighboring
Libya, which Carter anticipated would be "a
very difficult process."
are important benchmarks ahead of us," Carter
said, emphasizing that Sudan's most crucial next
step was general elections across the country.
The elections are due in 2009 according to a peace
agreement signed between Sudan's government and
rebels in the south of the country ending the
long civil war.
fear that delayed elections could lead to a breakdown
in the peace agreement.
who turned 83 upon his arrival in Khartoum on
Sunday, said he met with Sudanese President Omar
al-Bashir, who had committed to holding the elections
on time and invited international observers from
his foundation, the Carter Center, to monitor
also announced Khartoum had committed US$100 million
(€70 million) to a Darfur reconstruction
fund, with China pledging another US$200 million
(€140 million), Carter said.
all the problems between northern and southern
Sudan, Carter said he was convinced neither side
was willing to go back to war.
elections are a crucial point, both for the stability
of southern Sudan and the improvement of Darfur,"
Carter Center has monitored 68 elections worldwide
so far, and its founder said he was confident
it could help make the vote a success throughout
Sudan, even Darfur.
he questioned the commitment of al-Bashir, who
was brought to power in a military and Islamist
coup in 1989. "When people have been in power
for so long, and in an authoritarian regime like
this one, they don't want to endanger their power,"
the former president said.