Founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, the Atlanta-based Carter Center has helped to improve the quality of life for people in more than 80 countries. The Center, in partnership with Emory University, is committed to advancing human rights and alleviating unnecessary human suffering.
Jump To a Year
Sept. 14: The Carter Center welcomes journalists from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to participate in the Rosalyn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism for the first time.
Sept. 1: The Uganda Ministry of Health announces interruption of transmission of river blindness (onchocerciasis) in four more areas of the country as part of a Carter Center-assisted effort to eliminate the disease countrywide by 2020.
Aug. 31: The Carter Center partners with the UBS Optimus Foundation to strengthen the national mental health care system in Liberia to address the unique needs of children and adolescents.
Aug. 24: The Carter Center congratulates Colombia on their peace agreement. The Center works in Colombia on issues related to the peace accord — including matters of human rights, the separation of child soldiers from the conflict, and political and electoral reform.
Aug. 23: The Carter Center and partners release recommendations on improving gender equity and access to information in Bangladesh.
Aug. 10: The Carter Center, with partners at the National Conference of State Legislatures, launches a webpage on election observation in the United States.
Aug. 2: The Carter Center convenes its third Africa-China-United States Consultation for Peace and Development in Lome, Togo.
July 29: At the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Carter Center launches a limited international election observation mission for Zambia’s Aug. 11 elections and national referendum on the Bill of Rights.
July 10: The Center's Mental Health Program awards 2016-2017 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism to the 20th annual class of fellows, including eight from the United States and two from Colombia.
July 1: The Center's Democracy Program sends a pre-election assesment team to Liberia in advance of legislative elections scheduled for October 2017.
June 18-21: More than 60 activists, scholars and community leaders convene to discuss ways to end violence in all its forms during the Carter Center's annual Human Rights Defenders Forum, "A Time for Peace: "Rejecting Violence to Secure Human Rights."
May 16: The Center hosts the 21st annual Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum, where new research regarding the needs of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is discussed.
May 4: The Carter Center partners with the Al Jalalia Foundation to establish a Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism in the United Arab Emirates, the first such fellowship in the Middle East.
April 27: Dean G. Sienko, M.D., M.S., is named vice president of health programs at The Carter Center.
March 9: The Center's Conflict Resolution Program and partner Palantir Technologies release a robust, real-time Syria conflict map to assist humanitarian groups delivering supplies and aid workers.
Feb. 11: The Carter Center and officials from the Sudan Federal Ministry of Health mark an official handover of supplies and equipment to improve the country's maternal and child health.
Feb. 3: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter gives a lecture to members of the U.K. Parliament and special guests on the Center's 30-year international campaign to eradicate Guinea worm disease.
Jan. 7: The Carter Center announces only 22 cases of Guinea worm in 2015, an 83 percent reduction from the 126 cases reported in 2014; the greatest single percentage reduction in human cases in the history of the global campaign.
Dec. 7-9: The Carter Center holds the Human Rights Defenders International Forum in Accra, Ghana, bringing together more than 40 scholars, activists, and religious leaders to seek ways to combat the abuse and oppression of women and girls.
Nov. 8: A 62-member Carter Center delegation observes Myanmar's general elections — finding that while the large and peaceful turnout demonstrated the people's continuing commitment to the pursuit of democracy, some were excluded from the electoral process, and the country's transition from authoritarian rule to democracy is incomplete.
Oct. 25: The Carter Center sends a small, high-level political delegation to Guatemala's runoff presidential elections to demonstrate the international interest in Guatemala's democratic process.
Oct. 7: The Carter Center joins forces with The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) to strengthen the quality of elections and democracy.
Oct. 2: Mexico becomes the third country in the world verified by the World Health Organization as having eliminated river blindness, a milestone in the Carter Center-led effort to eliminate the parasitic disease.
Sept. 25: Drawing on the Center's extensive international election observation experience, the Democracy Program launches a new project to improve the quality of elections in the United States.
Sept. 16: The Center's Mental Health Program releases "The Carter Center Journalism Resource Guide on Behavioral Health" to assist journalists reporting on mental health issues with accuracy, fairness, and sensitivity.
Sept. 6: At the invitation of the Guatemalan Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), the Center sends a small, high-level political delegation to the general elections in Guatemala.
Sept. 1: The Carter Center joins forces with five major international development organizations to form the ADEPT Consortium to advance democratic elections and political transitions worldwide.
Aug. 28: The Center's Mental Health Program, in partnership with the Liberia Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, exceeds its goal of training 150 mental health clinicians by 2015. The newest class of 22 graduates brings the total mental health clinicians trained to 166. This workforce will join the effort to improve access to mental health services in Liberia.
July 14-15: The Carter Center's Americas Program and the World Affairs Council of Atlanta co-host two events to examine the future of Cuba and Latin America and to discuss strategies for promoting democracy and human rights.
July 10: The Center's Mental Health Program awards 2015-2016 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism to the 19th annual class of fellows, including six from the United States and two from Colombia.
June 12: Philanthropist Sir Emeka Offor and The Carter Center partner to eliminate river blindness in the seven states in Nigeria where the Center works with the Federal Ministry of Health. The project is made possible by grant support of USD$10 million from the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF).
May 27-28: The Center's Mental Health Program and partners co-host a major summit to improve behavioral health and well-being in the workplace.
May 14: The Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum addresses policy and releases new research on the needs of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
May 11: Led by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, an international delegation of observers monitor Guyana's closely contested presidential election, marking the Center's 100th election observation mission.
May 11-12: The Carter Center and Rotarians Against Child Slavery co-host the World Summit: End Sexual Exploitation 2025 conference to coordinate action to end the sexual exploitation of women and children.
May 6-7: The Center's China Program hosts a major forum on China's wide-ranging domestic and international reforms and their implications for U.S.-China relations.
March 5: The Carter Center's Mental Health Program, in partnership with the Liberia Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, congratulate the newest class of 21 clinicians, bringing the total number of trained mental health clinicians to 144.
Feb. 18: The Center's Global Access to Information Program and partners release a report stating Guatemalan women face deep inequities in exercising their fundamental right of access to information.
Feb. 10: The Center's Mobilizing Action for Women and Girls Initiative launches an online forum to advance the rights of women and girls.
Feb. 9-10: A group of 60 scholars, activists, and religious leaders from 20 countries participate in the Center's Human Rights Defenders Forum: "Beyond Violence: Women Leading for Peaceful Societies."
Feb. 2: The Center's Democracy Program, in partnership with three Congolese NGO networks, publishes a comprehensive report assessing transparency of the Congolese mining sector.
Jan. 14: Once one of the most endemic countries for Guinea worm disease, Ghana is certified by the World Health Organization as having eliminated Guinea worm (Dracunculus medinensis). This important milestone brings the international Carter Center-led Guinea worm eradication campaign closer its goal.
Jan. 12: The Carter Center-led international Guinea worm eradication campaign announces only 126 cases of the debilitating disease were reported worldwide in 2014, a reduction of 15 percent from 2013.
Dec. 16: The Carter Center launches an international election observation mission for Tunisia's Dec. 21 presidential runoff.
Nov. 20-21: The Carter Center celebrates the 30th Annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy with a look back at achievements in the field of behavioral health and a look ahead to the future of U.S. mental health and substance abuse policy.
Nov. 13: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Mexican businessman Carlos Slim announce a partnership to assist the regional initiative working with six countries in the Americas to eliminate river blindness (onchocerciasis): Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Venezuela.
Nov. 5: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, The Elders, and four women change-makers, activists, and experts debate how to empower women in conflict and in peacemaking at The Carter Center.
Oct. 26: The Carter Center observes legislative elections in Tunisia.
Oct. 20: The Carter Center launches a redesigned Election Obligations and Standards Database (EOS) that will strengthen citizens' ability to hold authorities accountable.
Oct. 6: The Carter Center launches an international election observation mission for Mozambique's presidential, legislative, and provincial assembly elections on Oct. 15.
Oct.1: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter celebrates his 90th birthday at The Carter Center with cake and a tour of a new butterfly garden created in honor of his special day.
Sept. 30: Ecuador becomes the second country in the world verified by the World Health Organization as having eliminated river blindness, a milestone in the Carter Center-led effort to eliminate the parasitic disease.
Sept. 19: The Carter Center and the American Museum of Natural History announce Countdown to Zero, a new exhibition about scientific and social innovations that are ridding the world of ancient afflictions. The exhibit will open on Jan. 13, 2015.
Sept. 8: The Carter Center transfers its Nepal observation research database to Social Science Baha, a Kathmandu-based nonprofit organization that promotes the study of social sciences in Nepal.
Aug. 12: The 200 millionth Carter Center-assisted treatment of the drug Mectizan®, donated by Merck, is delivered in Uganda to prevent the damaging effects of river blindness.
July 11: The Carter Center awards 2014-2015 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism to the 18th annual class of fellows, including six from the United States and two teams from Colombia.
July 9: The Center's Global Access to Information Initiative and partners release a report on the inequities faced by women seeking public information in Liberia.
July 7: The Carter Center deploys an international election observation mission for Tunisia's upcoming national elections on Oct. 26 and Nov. 23, 2014.
May 16: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Lions Clubs International announce a US $8.8 million expansion of the Lions-Carter Center SightFirst Initiative to end suffering from major causes of preventable blindness in Ethiopia, Uganda, Mali, and Niger.
May 4: At the invitation of the Panamanian Electoral Tribunal, The Carter Center sends a small high-level delegation to the May 4 national elections in Panama.
April 24: The Carter Center deploys a team of electoral experts to assess the process surrounding upcoming presidential elections in Egypt, including the ongoing legal and political context.
April 1: The Carter Center Board of Trustees announces the appointment of Ambassador Mary Ann Peters as chief executive officer of The Carter Center, effective Sept. 2, 2014.
March 24: President Carter begins a nationwide media tour for his book "A Call To Action." The book builds on the work of faith leaders and courageous human rights defenders who met at The Carter Center in the summer of 2013 to mobilize faith groups worldwide to commit to advancing women's rights.
Feb. 28: The Carter Center's Mental Health Program, in partnership with the Liberia Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, congratulate the newest, sixth class of 23 clinicians, bringing the total number of trained mental health clinicians to 123.
Feb. 16: The Carter Center conducts a small expert mission in Libya to assess the overall political environment ahead of Feb. 20 elections for the Constitutional Drafting Assembly.
Jan. 16: The Carter Center announces a provisional total of 148 cases of Guinea worm disease have been reported worldwide in four endemic countries: South Sudan, Ethiopia, Chad, and Mali. In 2013, three cases were reported from Sudan, which are being investigated.
Jan. 14: The Carter Center and Friends of the Inter-American Democratic Charter send a delegation to Panama to learn more about the electoral conditions leading up to the May 4 national elections.
Dec. 20: A Carter Center delegation observes the Madagascar national runoff election, following observation of the first round on Oct. 25.
Dec. 13: The Carter Center deploys a team of electoral experts to assess Egypt's constitution-building process, including the ongoing legal and political context.
Dec. 11: The Carter Center's Syria Conflict Mapping Project releases reports providing a comprehensive analysis of Syrian paramilitary group structures and their evolution, based on groundbreaking analysis of online citizen-generated information.
Nov. 24: The Center sends a small, high-level delegation to Honduras to demonstrate international interest in the national electoral process.
Nov. 19: The Carter Center observes Nepal's constituent assembly election.
Nov. 11-12: The Carter Center and Emory University sponsor a forum on the future of U.S.-China relations with scholars and leaders from both nations aiming to reduce misperceptions and build a stronger foundation for the world's most important bilateral relationship.
Nov. 10: The 100 millionth Carter Center-assisted dose of the drug Zithromax, donated by Pfizer, is delivered in Amhara Region, Ethiopia.
Nov. 8: At the 29th Annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announces national regulations have been finalized to achieve parity for mental health and substance abuse insurance benefits, recognizing Mrs. Carter's 40-years of public service on behalf of people with mental illnesses.
July 29: Colombia becomes the first country in the world verified by the World Health Organization as having eliminated river blindness, a milestone in the Carter Center-led effort to eliminate the disease from the Western Hemisphere.
July 12: The Carter Center awards 2013-2014 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism to the 17th annual class of fellows, including six from the United States, two from Romania, and for the first time, two teams from Colombia.
July 9: The Carter Center makes a strategic move from control only — to elimination — of river blindness in all the areas of the 10 countries in Africa and Latin America in which the Center fights the neglected disease.
June 28: A group of 60 human rights defenders, religious leaders, and scholars from 15 countries gather at The Carter Center for the conference "Mobilizing Faith for Women" to address key challenges faced by women's rights and religious activists seeking positive solutions for violence against women and other gender-based violations of human rights.
June 13: Nasarawa and Plateau states become the first states to stop transmission of lymphatic filariasis in Nigeria, Africa's most endemic country, setting a global example and demonstrating that eradication of the disease is possible.
June 12: In the ongoing interest of supporting a successful transition to democracy in Tunisia, The Carter Center evaluates the country's working constitutional draft, assessing the extent to which it is consistent with obligations under public international law.
April 18: Former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter and former Congressman Tony Coelho join federal government experts and other mental health officials at The Carter Center to discuss new research published in the American Journal of Public Health's first theme issue on stigma against people with mental illness.
April 14: At the invitation of Venezuela's National Election Council, The Carter Center sends a small delegation to accompany the Venezuelan people during the presidential election following the death of President Hugo Chavez.
April 11: The Carter Center and the Universidad de La Sabana, a private accredited university in Colombia, announce the launch of Colombia's Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism, which will award two annual fellowships to local journalists to investigate and produce stories on mental health issues in the nation.
March 18: The Carter Center launches a series of nongovernmental dialogues between prominent leaders from Sudan and South Sudan to strengthen peace and create lasting understanding between the two countries.
March 15: The Carter Center's Mental Health Program in Liberia, in partnership with the Liberia Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, announces that efforts to improve access to mental health care in the post-conflict nation now reach all 15 counties in Liberia, with each county having access to at least one locally trained and credentialed mental health clinician.
March 4: A 60-person Carter Center delegation observes Kenya's presidential and parliamentary elections and announces in subsequent weeks that, despite serious shortcomings in the management of technology and tabulation of final results, the paper-based procedure for counting and tallying votes confirms the will of Kenyan voters.
Jan. 17: The Carter Center-led international Guinea worm eradication campaign reaches its final stages with only 542 cases reported worldwide in 2012, about half of the 2011 total.
Jan. 14: The Carter Center and the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network release two groundbreaking reports on voter identification processes and practices — a Carter Center comparative analysis of voter identification processes in Africa and Latin America and an ACE report on the balance between preventing fraud and protecting the right to vote.
Jan. 14: The Carter Center deploys a small team of analysts to conduct a study mission of Jordan's Jan. 23 parliamentary elections.
Dec. 10: The Uganda Ministry of Health has interrupted transmission of river blindness (onchocerciasis) in three more areas of the country as part of a Carter Center-assisted effort to eliminate the disease nationwide by 2020.
Nov. 17: A team of 40 Carter Center observers finds the general elections in Sierra Leone (the country's first self-administered elections since the end of the civil war) to be peaceful, orderly, and transparent, with over 87 percent of those eligible turning out to vote.
Nov. 15: A Carter Center study mission of the Oct. 7 presidential election in Venezuela finds increased citizen confidence in the voter system compared to past contests, but suggests improvements to further strengthen the overall electoral system.
Oct. 24: At a critical juncture in Georgia's efforts to restructure community access to quality mental health services, former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Frank Berry, the new commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, co-host a public town hall meeting at South Georgia Technical College in Americus, Ga., one of six regions where citizens have offered input on recommendations being developed by The Carter Center for improving behavioral health services in local communities statewide.
Oct. 18: The Carter Center deploys a study mission to the West Bank to assess the overall political and electoral conditions surrounding the Oct. 20, 2012, municipal elections.
Aug. 17: The Carter Center's project with the Liberia Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to build a sustainable mental health care system reaches an important milestone with 14 out of 15 counties in Liberia now having access to at least one locally trained and credentialed mental health clinician.
July 7: A limited Carter Center election mission observes Libya's National General Congress elections, the country's first credible national polls in nearly six decades.
June 11: The Carter Center witnesses the runoff for Egypt's presidential election, noting that the Egyptian people again demonstrated a deep commitment to the electoral process, while expressing grave concern about the broader political and constitutional context for the election.
June 4: The Carter Center and the government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, extend their Memorandum of Understanding to continue collaboration to promote and strengthen good governance and the rule of law in the nation.
May 23-24: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter leads a Carter Center delegation to witness the first round of Egypt's presidential election, including 102 witnesses from 35 countries, visiting 909 polling stations in 25 governorates to follow voting, counting, and tabulation.
May 17: The isolated desert area of Abu Hamad in Sudan has stopped transmission of river blindness (onchocerciasis) — with assistance from The Carter Center, Lions Clubs International, and the Sudan Federal Ministry of Health — demonstrating that intensified mass treatment of the drug Mectizan, donated by Merck, can interrupt transmission of this debilitating disease.
May 14: The Carter Center receives accreditation from Egypt's Supreme Presidential Election Commission to deploy an international delegation of some 80 witnesses, led by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, to the May 23-24, 2012, presidential election.
April 4: The Carter Center participates as Haiti and the Dominican Republic hold the first of four binational meetings in 2012 to continue cooperative efforts to eliminate two mosquito-borne diseases — malaria and lymphatic filariasis — from the island of Hispaniola.
April 3: The Carter Center supports the Declaration of Global Principles for Nonpartisan Election Observation, a document that signals a major accomplishment in the development of credible and effective election observation.
Feb. 23: Transmission of river blindness (onchocerciasis) has been interrupted in several parts of Uganda, the first such achievement since the launch of Uganda's Carter Center-led river blindness elimination effort in 2007.
Feb. 12: A small Carter Center study group observes the Venezuelan opposition's primary elections, with the candidates chosen representing the political opposition in the Oct. 7 presidential election and the December 2012 governor and mayoral elections.
Feb. 4: A Carter Center delegation of 30 international witnesses to the Jan. 29-Feb. 22 two-phase Shura Council (Upper House) elections in Egypt find low levels of voter turnout, underscoring the political uncertainties surrounding Egypt's ongoing democratic transition.
Jan. 30: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, president of the United Arab Emirates His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the Children's Investment Fund Foundation donate $40 million to a Carter Center-led eradication campaign to end Guinea worm disease by 2015.
Jan. 10-11: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter joins a 40-member Carter Center international delegation to witness the final phase of Egypt's People's Assembly (Lower House) parliamentary elections.
Jan. 6: The Friends of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, a group of former leaders and eminent persons in the western hemisphere, call for "serious review and reform" of Nicaragua's electoral system.
Dec. 11: At the invitation of the Independent Electoral Commission, The Carter Center observes Cote d'Ivoire's 2011 legislative elections and finds the voting — an essential step in re-establishing the country's constitutional order — generally peaceful and without major security incidents, achieving a key goal of the peace process laid out by the Political Accord of Ouagadougou.
Nov. 28: The Carter Center observes the presidential and legislative elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — finding that while the large and peaceful turnout demonstrated the Congolese people's continuing commitment to the pursuit of peace, the provisional election results lacked credibility.
Nov. 28: Egyptians begin three-part parliamentary elections (the first multi-party elections since the departure of Hosni Mubarak) — slated to take place across three regions on separate polling days (Nov. 28, 2011; Dec. 14, 2011; and Jan. 3, 2012) — with an international Carter Center delegation present to "witness" all rounds of voting.
Nov. 8: An international Carter Center delegation of more than 50 observers from 20 countries across Africa and around the world observes Liberia's presidential run-off election and finds that while the election was conducted in general accordance with Liberia's legal framework and international obligations for democratic elections, it was marred by an opposition boycott, violence on the eve of the election, and low voter turnout.
Oct. 23: The Carter Center observes the historic National Constituent Assembly elections in Tunisia — the first "Arab Spring" country to hold democratic elections.
Oct. 11: The Carter Center observes Liberia's presidential and legislative elections, a critical test for the country's transition from war to democratic and constitutional governance.
Oct. 5: Britain's Department of International Development donates £20 million (U.S. $31 million) to the Carter Center's Guinea Worm Eradication Program and calls on other donors to complete funding toward the goal of Guinea worm eradication by 2015.
Sept. 24: The Carter Center deploys a small observation mission for the Cherokee Nation's special election for principal chief, and commends the Cherokee Nation on a successful voting day, calling for transparency as the election process continues via absentee ballot.
Aug. 12: The Carter Center celebrates the graduation of Liberia's first class of locally trained mental health clinicians, who are awarded certificates as part of a joint project between the Liberian Ministry of Health and The Carter Center to build a sustainable mental health system in the post-conflict nation.
Aug. 4: The Carter Center formally launches an international observation mission — at the invitation of the Tunisian electoral commission — to monitor Tunisia's Constituent Assembly elections, set for Oct. 23, marking the first by an "Arab Spring" country.
July 28: Once one of the most endemic countries for Guinea worm disease, Ghana has ended transmission of the water-borne parasitic disease, with the last indigenous case reported and contained in May 2010.
May 18: Despite a climate of heightened insecurity and instances of procedural irregularities that removed an important safeguard of the process, The Carter Center finds that South Kordofan's elections (Sudan province) were generally peaceful and credible — based on conclusions of the Center's election observation team of 24 observers from 14 nations.
April 6: A group of human rights defenders and religious leaders representing more than 20 countries, attending the Carter Center's sixth human rights defenders policy forum titled "Religion, Belief, and Women's Rights," call on faith leaders to reassess the role religions play in continuing discrimination against women worldwide.
March 31: After 13 years spent training more than 26,000 public health workers to help fill the gap in rural health services for 75 million Ethiopians, the Carter Center-assisted Ethiopia Public Health Training Initiative — which has worked in partnership with seven Ethiopian universities and the Ethiopian government to improve the public health education system — officially is transferred to Ethiopia's Federal Ministries of Health and Education.
March 28-30: In a follow-up to their May 2002 visit to Cuba, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter meet with President Raul Castro and other Cuban officials and citizens to learn about new economic policies and the upcoming Party Congress, and to discuss ways to improve U.S.-Cuba relations — a private, nongovernmental mission under the auspices of the not-for-profit Carter Center.
Feb. 28: The Andean-U.S. Dialogue Forum — a citizens' forum sponsored by The Carter Center and International IDEA to identify and contribute solutions to multilateral problems and tensions among the Andean countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela) and the United States — outlines a common agenda to improve cooperation among the nations.
Feb. 17: A Carter Center ceremony honors Nigeria and Niger as the most recent nations to halt Guinea worm disease transmission.
Jan. 19: The Carter Center, in partnership with the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, expands its Community Legal Advisor program to provide legal support services in nine rural Liberian counties — giving rural Liberians access to free community-based legal services and knowledge of their rights.
Jan. 9-15: In one of the Carter Center's largest observation missions, more than 100 observers deploy across Sudan and in eight out-of-country voting locations to witness voting in the referendum on independence for Southern Sudan, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters.