April 30, 2001
Jimmy Carter served as president from 1977 to 1981, after completing one term as governor of Georgia. His noteworthy foreign policy accomplishments included the Panama Canal Treaties, and the Camp David Accords, the treaty of peace between Egypt and Israel. On the domestic side, the Carter administration's achievements included a comprehensive energy program conducted by a new Department of Energy; deregulation in energy, transportation, communications and finance; major educational programs under a new Department of Education; and major environmental protection legislation, including the Alaska Land's Act.
Carter is perhaps best known for his foreign policy achievements. In 1977 the United States and Panama formed two new treaties to replace their 1903 agreement about control of the Panama Canal. These treaties recognized Panama sovereignty over the Canal Zone, and control of the Canal itself, beginning in 2000; however, they left the United States the right to defend the canal's neutrality. Carter proved to be a capable peace negotiator. In September 1978 he met at the presidential retreat in Camp David, Md., with Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. They agreed on a framework for peace, known as the Camp David Accords, that led to a peace treaty between the two countries that was signed in Washington, D.C., on March 26, 1979.
After leaving office, Carter has championed human rights and became a public spokesperson for numerous charitable causes. In 1982 he founded the Carter Center of Emory University in Atlanta. The center serves as a forum for discussing issues related to democracy and human rights. Carter has also traveled extensively throughout various developing countries helping to monitor elections, establish relief efforts, and conduct peace negotiations. Carter has served on the board of directors, and he and his wife, Rosalyn, are regular volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that helps needy people in the United States and other countries renovate and build homes for themselves.