This Presidents Day, we’d like to discuss the work of President Jimmy Carter, whose work in conflict resolution both during and after his presidency highlights the importance of mediation and negotiation in preventing outbreaks of violence. In 2002, the Nobel Committee recognized President Carter for his commitment to peace when they awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize, citing “his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.”
One of the great legacies of the Carter presidency is the Camp David Accords. Through concerted diplomacy and a strong commitment to Middle East peace, in 1978 President Carter was able to bring together Israel and Egypt for a secret 13-day negotiation. This negotiation produced an agreement that led directly to the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty of 1979.
After his presidency, Carter’s focus on international peace continued through his work with the Carter Center. Among the many efforts of the Carter Center, their work in preventing and resolving international conflicts is of greatest interest to us at Cure Violence. In this role, the Carter Center acts a trusted broker for peace until other channels for negotiation can take place, filling the space between official diplomacy and unofficial grassroots peace efforts.
The Carter Center carries out its work in conflict resolution by monitoring and mediating conflicts, implementing peace agreements and peace building, and preventing conflicts before they begin by working to cool down minor crises before they erupt into violence.
Does this sound familiar? To anyone familiar with the work of Cure Violence, it should. Cure Violence workers do similar conflict resolution work at a local level. On a daily basis, the violence interrupters at Cure Violence demonstrate the importance of mediation and negotiation in conflict resolution. By acting as a neutral party in the resolution of disputes and working to prevent conflicts before they spiral into violent confrontation, our workers strive to create peace on a micro-level.
We may be working in totally different arenas, but Cure Violence shares with the Carter Center a commitment to preventing and mediating conflicts and working for a world without violence. As the Nobel Committee stated, “Carter has stood by the principles that conflicts must as far as possible be resolved through mediation and international co-operation based on international law, respect for human rights, and economic development.” On Presidents’ Day, it makes sense for us to recognize the efforts of Jimmy Carter, a President who has actively served as a leader in promoting peace in the world.