2013 Reg Weaver Award
PRESIDENT JAMES EARL "JIMMY" CARTER
In the more than three decades since he left the White House, Jimmy Carter has been a fearless activist for social justice and peace, guided only by his conscience rather than public opinion polls. He has focused his energies on improving the lives of the hungry, the illiterate, and the poor—and has done so with "joyful resolve."
When it was no longer popular to talk about poverty, Jimmy Carter continued to talk about our moral obligation to serve the poor. As the glories of corporate globalization were sung, Jimmy Carter noted that two-thirds of the world’s men, women and children remain untouched by its gains. And when the United States went to war in Iraq, Jimmy Carter stood out as a voice of moral reason in opposition.
The enduring image of former President Jimmy Carter, in work clothes, hammer in hand, helping build a home for low income families has gone global. Jimmy Carter made Habitat for Humanity household words.
Jimmy Carter promised that his Carter Presidential Center would concentrate on action not policy study, and he has been true to his word. The Center has worked to eradicate disease in Africa, resolve conflicts in war-torn regions of the world, and support fair and open elections in countries new to democracy. In 2002, the Nobel Prize was awarded to Jimmy Carter "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."
It has been said that Jimmy Carter is the best ex-President we have ever had. But this belies the accomplishments of the Carter Administration.
Under President Carter's leadership, the cabinet-level Department of Education was created. This was a measure that the National Education Association had been advocating for over 50 years. Jimmy Carter was the first Presidential candidate the NEA recommended to its members.
Educated in public schools and public colleges and universities, Jimmy Carter was a staunch advocate for public education throughout his presidency. He and his wife Rosalyn sent their daughter Amy to a public school in Washington, D.C.
In 1977 President Carter proposed an ambitious Program for Better Jobs and Income. Based on the premise that "people in poverty want to work and most of them do," this initiative sought benefits for those who work for poverty wages. While never adopted, the Program for Better Jobs and Incomes remains relevant today as economic inequality grows in America.
Jimmy Carter inspired all people who believe that we must not allow the personal acquisition of wealth to define our humanity.