"Hi, I'm Jimmy Carter, and I'm going to be your next President."
These were the first words many Americans ever heard from Jimmy Carter. A one-term governor from the Deep South with no Washington experience, professional political observers dismissed his candidacy as the longest of long shots. But the born-again Christian and peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia knew something the experts didn't. Americans were looking for fresh, untainted leadership to bridge the chasm of mistrust that had opened between the people and their government after the war in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal.
As President of the United States from 1977 to 1981, Jimmy Carter sought to make the United States a force for peace in the world, and made the promotion of human rights a centerpiece of his foreign policy. Over strenuous opposition, he secured ratification of the Panama Canal Treaty, honoring a long-term commitment of the United States to return control of the Canal to the Panamanian people. In the most dramatic achievement of his presidency, Carter personally mediated a peace settlement between Egypt and Israel, ending a 31-year state of war between the Jewish state and its largest Arab neighbor and laying the groundwork for all subsequent Middle East peace negotiations.
Since leaving office, Jimmy Carter has become the most active ex-President in the country's history -- a humanitarian activist, best-selling author and traveling ambassador of peace, resolving international disputes and helping to monitor elections in newly emerging democracies. The man from Plains, Georgia is still providing the world with the moral leadership he first offered America in the 1970s. In 2002, his commitment to nonviolent conflict resolution around the world was recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize.