Blog | From the CEO: Changing Times, Unchanging Principles

Headshot of Paige Alexander

Paige Alexander is chief executive officer of The Carter Center.

The announcement in February that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, the Carter Center’s co-founder, was entering hospice care touched my heart. It prompted reflections on how the Center has grown and evolved while remaining true to our founders’ original vision.

President and Mrs. Carter initially imagined the Center as an institution where international adversaries could turn to resolve their conflicts and disputes, thereby ending or avoiding wars. That vision persists today in our robust Conflict Resolution Program, where we closely monitor activities in Syria, Mali, Sudan, Israel, and Palestine.

  • Jimmy Carter at a polling place in Panama.

    Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter observes the 1989 presidential election in Panama on behalf of The Carter Center. Today, the Center is as a trusted authority in the field of international election observation.

In the Center’s early days, the Carters became aware of Guinea worm disease and began to act against the parasitic affliction endured by millions. Today, we are on the brink of eradicating the disease: Only 13 human cases in four countries were reported last year. And the Center’s work has expanded to include fighting an entire portfolio of neglected tropical diseases — river blindness, trachoma, lymphatic filariasis, and schistosomiasis.

In 1989, President Carter led a mission to observe elections in Panama. That set the stage for The Carter Center to monitor elections in emerging or struggling democracies around the world — 114 in 39 countries to date. In the process, the Center has become a trusted authority on the standards and obligations for democratic elections.

While in the White House, President Carter emphasized respect for human rights as an essential pillar of his foreign policy. Today, The Carter Center upholds that ideal by supporting human rights defenders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and around the world.

President and Mrs. Carter’s vision for a better world — a world where peace, health, and hope reign — is at the center of everything we do. I’m proud to be a part of continuing such an honorable legacy based on timeless principles. I hope you are, too.

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