Citing the vast potential for "continual and rich interplay between theory and practice" represented by the new Carter Center Faculty Liaison Program, Provost Billy Frye was one of several speakers at a Sept. 24 luncheon to inaugurate the program.
Although the creation of the program was announced last spring, the luncheon was the first opportunity for all 16 of the faculty liaisons to meet as a group. The program will pair Emory faculty liaisons with Carter Center fellows and their staffs working in specific areas such as disease eradication, youth violence, human rights and poverty. The liaisons not only will learn about the program's operations and report to their campus colleagues about what they've learned, but also offer their expertise to the program.
The Faculty Liaison program took root nearly two years ago when former Faculty Council President Luther Smith asked Marion Creekmore, Carter Center director of programs and Emory vice provost for International Affairs, to attend a Faculty Council meeting to discuss ways in which the faculty could be more intimately involved with The Carter Center's work.
Former President Jimmy Carter expressed enthusiasm for the faculty expertise that will be provided to The Carter Center's programs. "Since The Carter Center began operating, we have had lots of crisis moments and lots of delightful innovative moments," Carter said. "This is certainly one of those delightful, innovative moments." While The Carter Center only takes on projects where direct action can produce positive results in people's lives, Carter emphasized that the center "needs the strength of Emory's resources and needs the ability to consult" with the faculty on how to solve problems being addressed by the center.
Carter also said he foresees a synergistic relationship between The Carter Center and Emory, as evidenced by a proposal to offer Emory students a "Peace Corps-like experience" through Carter Center programs both in the United States and abroad.
Carter Center Executive Director John Hardman said he sees the Faculty Liaison program as "the first step in moving in the direction of forming closer ties between The Carter Center's action programs and scholarship conducted by the Emory faculty."
Frye praised those action-oriented programs as a powerful means for "improving the lives of the distressed and the miserable" all over the world. He added that such programs make Emory a stronger and better University. "This program goes forward with great enthusiasm from the Emory administration," said Frye.
Smith closed the luncheon by reminding the liaisons that one of their primary responsibilities is "to encourage their faculty colleagues to be more aware of what's happening at The Carter Center." He also said that current Faculty Council President Luke Johnson will ensure that the program "continues in ways that reflect our vision of this unique opportunity."