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October 11, 2002

Jimmy Carter awarded Nobel Prize

Former President Jimmy Carter has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "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," the Nobel committee announced Friday, Oct. 11, in Oslo, Norway.

Carter, according to news reports, received the news at home in Plains, Ga., at 4:30 a.m., Oct. 11. He was scheduled to hold a press conference in the south Georgia town at noon.

"I’m deeply grateful for this honor," Carter said. "I want to thank the Nobel Committee and the many people at the Carter Center who have worked side by side with me and my wife, Rosalynn, to promote peace and human rights."

"On behalf of everyone at Emory University, where President Carter has served for many years as a member of the faculty, we are immensely proud that the Nobel Peace Prize has gone to this messenger and apostle of peace and understanding," said Emory President Bill Chace. "We have watched for years as this native son of Georgia has, since his presidency, advanced, in many different ways, a vision of healthy understanding among the nations and the people of the world."

After he left the White House in January 1981, Carter began working with Emory to develop the Carter Center, a not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization committed to working for human rights and the alleviation of human suffering around the world. In its 20 years, the Carter Center has been involved in efforts all around the globe to prevent and resolve conflict, enhance freedom and democracy and improve health.

"People everywhere share the same dream of a caring international community that prevents war and oppression," Carter said in his Nobel statement. "During the past two decades, as Rosalynn and I traveled around the world for the work of our center, my concept of human rights has grown to include not only the right to live in peace, but also to adequate health care, shelter, food and to economic opportunity.

"I hope this award reflects a universal acceptance and even embrace of this broad-based concept of human rights," Carter said. "This honor serves as an inspiration not only to us but also to suffering people around the world, and I accept it on their behalf."

Carter has been nominated several times for the award, which carries with it a $1 million prize. The 2002 field included a record 156 candidates, including 117 individuals and 39 groups.

The Carter Center operates in partnership with Emory as a separately chartered extension of the University. The center is independently governed by a board of trustees that includes Chace. Emory faculty serve as liaisons to the Carter Center's core programs, and most of the 120 undergraduate and graduate students who intern each year at the center come from Emory. Chace also has accompanied Carter Center election-inspection teams to Israel and Peru.

"When he goes forth from The Carter Center and from this campus to wage peace, President Carter does so because his experiences have taught him that war is not necessarily the best answer to conflict, but rational discussion and respect for others can be," Chace said. "He served his country well as president but he is now being recognized for all that he has so superbly done since that presidency."

The full text of the Nobel committee’s citation to Carter is available here.