Carter Center

Last updated
The Carter Center
FoundedApril 6, 1982;41 years ago (1982-04-06) [1]
Founder Jimmy Carter
Rosalynn Carter [1]
Type Not-for-profit, non-governmental organization
(IRS exemption status): 501(c)(3) [1]
Focus Human rights, Conflict resolution, Election monitoring, Public health, Eradication of infectious diseases, Mental health
Area served
Global (75 countries since 1982) [2]
Method Popular education, Access to information, Aid distribution
Key people
175; field office staff in more than a dozen countries [1]
Partnered with Emory University

The Carter Center is a nongovernmental, not-for-profit organization founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. He and his wife Rosalynn Carter partnered with Emory University just after his defeat in the 1980 United States presidential election. The center is located in a shared building adjacent to the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum on 37 acres (150,000 m2) of parkland, on the site of the razed neighborhood of Copenhill, two miles (3 km) from downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The library and museum are owned and operated by the United States National Archives and Records Administration, while the center is governed by a Board of Trustees, consisting of business leaders, educators, former government officials, and philanthropists.


The Carter Center's goal is to advance human rights and alleviate human suffering, [3] including helping improve the quality of life for people in more than 80 countries. [4] The center has many projects including election monitoring, supporting locally led state-building and democratic institution-building in various countries, mediating conflicts between warring states, and intervening with heads of states on behalf of victims of human rights abuses. It also leads disease eradication efforts, spearheading the campaign to eradicate Guinea worm disease, as well as controlling and treating onchocerciasis, trachoma, lymphatic filariasis, and malaria through awareness campaigns.

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. [5] In 2007, he wrote an autobiography entitled Beyond the White House: Waging Peace, Fighting Disease, Building Hope, which chronicles the first 25 years of The Carter Center.


The center was founded in 1982 [6] and dedicated in 1986 with William Foege as its executive director. [7]

In 1993, John Hardman was appointed executive director, and during the 1990s the center received several multimillion-dollar donations to fight Guinea worm disease and to prevent blindness. [8]

In 1994, the center launched an initiative called "Not Even One" to fight child death by firearm.[ citation needed ]

On October 2, 1995, The Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum was held at The Carter Center.[ citation needed ]


The center is governed by a board of trustees, which oversees the organization’s assets and property and promotes its objectives and goals.[ citation needed ]

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. [9]

The CEO of The Carter Center is Paige Alexander, appointed on June 16, 2020. [10] [11] Her predecessor was (Ret.) Ambassador Mary Ann Peters [12] who served in the position since 2014. [1]

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, [13] the International Task Force for Disease Eradication, [14] and the Mental Health Task Force. [15] The Carter Center also collaborates with other public and private organizations.

Peace programs

Observing elections

The Carter Center performs election observation, sending teams of observers to determine the legitimacy of 101 elections [16] in 39 countries since 1989. [17]

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.[ citation needed ]

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. [18]

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. [19] It is also leading the effort to develop effective methodologies for observing elections that employ new electronic voting technologies. [20]

In the 2020 US election, the Carter Center observed parts of the process at home for the first time in the history of the United States. In this context, the center conducted information campaigns in advance to strengthen confidence in the election process. [21] On November 13, 2020, the center announced that it would monitor the hand recount in Georgia to "help bolster transparency and confidence in election results. [22] [23]

Strengthening 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.[ citation needed ]

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. [24]

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. [25]

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.[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

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. [26]

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.[ citation needed ]

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, [27] 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:

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. In 2011, the Carter Center decided to focus on advancing the US- China relationship, and since 2015 has been promoting greater Africa-U.S.-China cooperation.[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

During his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, Carter commented on what he felt is the greatest challenge the world faces:[ citation needed ]

“Among all the possible choices, I decided that the most serious and universal problem is the growing chasm between the richest and poorest people on earth. Citizens of the ten wealthiest countries are now 75 times richer than those who live in the ten poorest ones, and the separation is increasing every year, not only between nations but also within them. The results of this disparity are root causes of most of the world’s unresolved problems, including starvation, illiteracy, environmental degradation, violent conflict and unnecessary illnesses that range from Guinea worm to HIV/AIDS. Tragically, in the industrialized world there is a terrible absence of understanding or concern about those who are enduring lives of despair and hopelessness. We have not yet made the commitment to share with others an appreciable part of our excessive wealth. This is a necessary and potentially rewarding burden that we should all be willing to assume." [36]

Disease eradication efforts

The Carter Center began spearheading the campaign to eradicate Guinea worm disease worldwide in 1986. At the time, there were about 3.5 million annual cases of the disease in 20 countries in Africa and Asia. In 2016, there were 25 reported cases in three countries: South Sudan, Chad, and Ethiopia. [37] Guinea worm disease is poised to be the first parasitic disease to be eradicated and the only disease to be eradicated without the use of vaccines or drugs.[ citation needed ]

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. [38]

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. [39]

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 the 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 2015. [40]

The center has distributed more than 125 million doses of Mectizan (ivermectin) [41] – a drug donated by Merck & Co., Inc., that treats and prevents river blindness. [42]

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.[ citation needed ]

The Center follows the World Health Organization’s four-pronged approach – called the SAFE strategy – to fight trachoma in six African countries. [43] 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.

As of March 2010, The Carter Center has helped to build more than one million latrines in its effort to fight trachoma. [41]

The latrines contain human waste, preventing it from serving as a breeding ground for the disease-carrying flies, thereby reducing one way the disease is spread. [44]

Lymphatic filariasis and malaria are mosquito-borne diseases also targeted by The Carter Center. The center has distributed four million long-lasting insecticidal bed nets. [41] It has also established drug distribution systems in Nigeria to treat and stem the spread of lymphatic filariasis and schistosomiasis. [45]

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.[ citation needed ]

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.[ citation needed ]

Strengthening 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. [46]

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 100 journalists have participated in the program. [47]


Jimmy Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his work through the Carter Center. [5] The Carter Center received the inaugural Delta Prize for Global Understanding in 1999—an award administered by the University of Georgia. [48]

In 2006, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation presented the Carter Center with the Gates Award for Global Health. [49]

The center was awarded Hamdan Award for Volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services for 2013–14. [50]

Annual weekend

Since 1992, the Carter Center has organized an annual weekend.[ vague ] In 2019, for the first time, part of the event program was opened to the media, a discussion on human rights. [51] An important part of the event is an auction that raised $1.6 million in 2013 [52] and $4 million in 2018. [51]


Alleged funding-based bias

In 2007, Alan Dershowitz, an American attorney, alleged on a pro-Israel website that the center's focus "is away from significant Arab abuses and on Israel's far less serious ones" and that this is influenced by the center's receipt of donations from Arab sources. [53] One of the initial contributors to the center was Bank of Commerce and Credit International founder Agha Hasan Abedi, who donated $500,000. Abedi and BCCI also donated $8 million to Carter's Global 2000 project. [54]

According to the center, which discloses all donations over $1000, 2.5 percent of the total amount of contributions it has received since its founding in 1982 thru 2016 were from donors in Mideast Arab nations. [55]

Of the donations from the Mideast, the center stated that:

"83% of those funds have helped to support health programs in Africa, 9.8% have gone to the center's endowment, 2.7% were for original construction of buildings at our headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and 4.5% for projects to directly promote peace, such as specific election observations." [55]

Venezuelan election

Some individuals have disputed the center’s endorsement of the electoral process in the Venezuelan recall referendum of 2004. [56] Fox News' Doug Schoen told Michael Barone of U.S. News & 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.'" [57] [58] The Carter Center looked into the allegations and released a paper and statistical analysis reaffirming their original conclusions. [59]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 The Carter Center Annual Report 2008-09 (PDF). Atlanta: The Carter Center. 2010. p. 2.
  2. The Carter Center Annual Report 2008-09 (PDF). Atlanta: The Carter Center. 2010. pp. 80–81.
  3. "The Carter Center At 30 Years". GeorgiaTrend. 31 October 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  4. "The Carter Center – Waging Peace. Fighting Disease". The Carter Center.
  5. 1 2 Norwegian Nobel Committee, 2002 Nobel Peace Prize announcement, , October 11, 2002, accessed December 19, 2008.
  6. Suggs, Ernie; Journal-Constitution, The Atlanta. "Jimmy Carter gets new title: oldest living former president". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2020-11-19.
  7. "Timeline and History of The Carter Center [1981-1989]". The Carter Center. Archived from the original on November 1, 2009. Retrieved October 12, 2009.
  8. "Timeline and History of The Carter Center [1990-1999]". The Carter Center. Retrieved October 12, 2009.
  9. "Board of Councilors". The Carter Center. Retrieved 2023-01-30.
  10. "The Carter Center announces new CEO appointment". CBS46 News Atlanta. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  11. "Paige Alexander". Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  12. "Amb. (Ret.) Mary Ann Peters | HuffPost". Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  13. "A Peace Organization Making Peace Around The World - Carter Center". Archived from the original on 2015-10-24.
  14. "International Disease Control and Prevention - Carter Center International Task Force for Disease Eradication".
  15. "A Mental Health Organization Combatting the Stigma of Mental Illness - The Carter Center Mental Health Program".
  16. "Carter Center list of elections observed".
  17. The Carter Center, The Carter Center: Waging Peace Through Elections, accessed September 19, 2010.
  18. The Carter Center, "How does The Carter Center choose which elections to monitor?" Archived October 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine , accessed on December 19, 2008.
  19. United Nations, "Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct for International Election Observers" Archived November 29, 2006, at the Wayback Machine , October 27, 2005, accessed on December 19, 2008.
  20. Carter Center, "Developing a Methodology for Observing Electronic Voting", October 2007, accessed December 19, 2008.
  21. "The Carter Center" . Retrieved 2020-11-23.
  22. "CNN - Breaking News, Latest News and Videos". Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  23. Russell, Dale (2020-11-13). "For the first time ever the Carter Center will monitor an American election". FOX 5 Atlanta. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  24. Deborah Hakes, "Carter Center Field Office in Ramallah", May 4, 2007, accessed on December 19, 2008.
  25. Members of the Council of Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Americas, "Council of Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Americas - Carter Center Americas Program -". Archived from the original on 2008-01-31. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
  26. Carter Center Human Rights Defenders Initiative, , accessed December 19, 2008.
  27. "Index of /documents/campdavid".
  28. Jimmy Carter, "Solving the Korean Stalemate, One Step at a Time", New York Times, October 11, 2006, accessed December 19, 2008.
  29. BBC News, "Moderates Launch Middle East Plan", December 1, 2003, accessed December 19, 2008.
  30. Carter Center Press Release, "Agreement Between Governments of Sudan and Uganda, Nairobi Agreement" Archived 2008-05-18 at the Wayback Machine , December 8, 1999, accessed on December 19, 2008.
  31. Larry Rohter, "SHOWDOWN WITH HAITI: DIPLOMACY; Carter, in Haiti, Pursues Peaceful Shift", New York Times, September 18, 1994, accessed on December 19, 2008.
  32. BBC News, "Lift Cuba embargo, Carter tells U.S.", May 15, 2002, accessed on December 19, 2008.
  33. Carter Center Press Release, "African Leaders Gather to Address Great Lakes Crisis" Archived 2008-07-19 at the Wayback Machine , May 2, 1996, accessed on December 19, 2008.
  34. "Ecuador and Colombia Presidents Accept President Carter's Proposal to Renew Diplomatic Relations at the Level of Chargé d'Affaires, Immediately and Without Preconditions" (Press release). The Carter Center. 2008-06-08. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
  35. "Colombia, Ecuador restore ties under deal with Carter". Thomson Reuters. 2008-06-08. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
  36. "Ability Magazine: The Carter Center" . Retrieved 2012-04-06.
  37. "Guinea Worm Disease: Case Countdown". Carter Center. Archived from the original on 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2017-02-26.
  38. Donald G. McNeil, Jr., "Dose of Tenacity Wears Down a Horrific Disease", New York Times, March 26, 2006, accessed February 2, 2014.
  39. "Disease Control and Prevention - Carter Center International Task Force for Disease Eradication".
  40. "Pan American Health Organization Passes Resolution to Interrupt Transmission of River Blindness in Latin America by 2012", , accessed on November 4, 2009.
  41. 1 2 3 "Eye of the Eagle, March 2010 (Vol. 11, No. 1)]" (PDF). The Carter Center. Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  42. "Home - Mectizan Donation Program".
  43. 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 December 19, 2008.
  44. Mark Bixler, "Latrine program a hit: project deals with health, gender", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 5, 2005, accessed December 19, 2008.
  45. Carter Center, "New Malaria Program Blankets Areas of Ethiopia with Bed Nets", Carter Center News, June 12, 2007, accessed December 19, 2008.
  46. Sasakawa Africa Association, Archived 2009-11-30 at the Wayback Machine , accessed on December 19, 2008.
  47. "The Carter Center Awards 2009-2010 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism", , accessed on November 4, 2009.
  48. "1999 Delta Prize Announcement: The Carter Center" Archived August 7, 2006, at the Wayback Machine , April 27, 1999, accessed December 19, 2008.
  49. "2006 Gates Award for Global Health: The Carter Center" Archived January 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine , 2006, accessed December 19, 2008.
  50. "Awards Centre". Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  51. 1 2 Sullivan, Kevin; Jordan, Mary. "At a retreat, Carter and Mondale talked about the old days, and went after Trump". Washington Post. ISSN   0190-8286 . Retrieved 2020-11-17.
  52. Poole, Shelia; Journal-Constitution, The Atlanta. "Carter Center's annual auction brings in $1.6 million". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2020-11-17.
  53. Alan M. Dershowitz, Ex-President for Sale, StandWithUs.
  54. "16 - BCCI And Georgia Politicians".
  55. 1 2 Background on the Carter Center's Middle East Funding, last accessed November 4, 2009
  56. J. Michael Waller, ""What to Do about Venezuela?"" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 30, 2007. (75.0  KiB) Occasional Papers 6 Center for Security Policy May 2005, accessed December 19, 2008.
  57. The National Interest: Exit polls in Venezuela,U.S. News & World Report (8/20/04)
  58. "Conned in Caracas: New evidence that Jimmy Carter got fooled in Venezuela". . WSJ. September 9, 2004. Archived from the original on September 10, 2004.
  59. Carter Center, 17 September 2004, Report on an Analysis of the Representativeness of the Second Audit Sample, and the Correlation between Petition Signers and the Yes Vote in the Aug. 15, 2004 Presidential Recall Referendum in Venezuela, accessed 20 February 2010

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The eradication of lymphatic filariasis is the ongoing attempt to eradicate the Filarioidea worms which cause the disease lymphatic filariasis and also treat the people who already have the infection.

Lymphatic filariasis in India refers to the presence of the disease lymphatic filariasis in India and the social response to the disease. In India, 99% of infections come from a type of mosquito spreading a type of worm through a mosquito bite. The treatment plan provides 400 million people in India with medication to eliminate the parasite. About 50 million people in India were carrying the worm as of the early 2010s, which is 40% of all the cases in the world. In collaboration with other countries around the world, India is participating in a global effort to eradicate lymphatic filariasis. If the worm is eliminated from India then the disease could be permanently eradicated. In October 2019 the Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said that India's current plan is on schedule to eradicate filariasis by 2021.

The Kigali Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases is a global health project that aims to mobilise political and financial resources for the control and eradication of infectious diseases, the so-called neglected tropical diseases due to different parasitic infections. Launched by the Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases on 27 January 2022, it was the culmination and join commitment declared at the Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) hosted by the Government of Rwanda at its capital city Kigali on 23 June 2022.