Contact: Deanna Congileo, 404-420-5108
Atlanta, Ga…..Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter will lead a study mission to Israel, the West Bank, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan April 13-21, 2008, as part of the Carter Center's ongoing effort to support peace, democracy, and human rights in the region.
Jimmy Carter has been committed to peace in the Middle East since his presidency, 1977-81. The Carter Center has been actively engaged in studying and working for peace since he left office, including most recently by observing Palestinian elections in 1996, 2005, and 2006. The Center also has supported human rights defenders throughout the region as they seek to build peaceful and democratic societies. In 2005, The Carter Center opened a field office in Ramallah, West Bank to monitor peace efforts, human rights, and electoral developments in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Participating in the mission will be former First Lady Rosalynn Carter; son Jeffrey Carter; former U.S. Congressman Stephen Solarz; Dr. Robert Pastor, senior Carter Center advisor and professor of international relations at American University in Washington, D.C.; and Hrair Balian, director of the Carter Center's Conflict Resolution Program.
"I consider it an honor to accompany President Carter, the architect of the Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt and the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, on a mission to the Middle East designed to find ways to enhance the prospects for a just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians as well as between Israel and the rest of its Arab neighbors," said Congressman Solarz, who served as a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee for 18 years and was one of the leading supporters of Israel in Congress.
"This is a study mission, and our purpose is not to negotiate, but to support and provide momentum for current efforts to secure peace in the Middle East," said President Carter. "Our delegation has considerable experience in the region, and we go there with an open mind and heart to listen and learn from all parties."
The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, the Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production. Visit www.cartercenter.orgfor more information.