Jimmy Carter-Nobel Lecture: Nobel Lecture, Oslo, December 10, 2002

International Journal of Humanities and Peace, Annual 2003 | Go to article overview

Jimmy Carter-Nobel Lecture: Nobel Lecture, Oslo, December 10, 2002


Jimmy Carter receives Nobel Peace Prize

Jimmy Carter has accepted the Nobel Peace Prize and is urging people to work for peace in a world that has become "a more dangerous place."

The 78-year-old former US president was honoured for his pursuit of peace, health and human rights.

Before he entered the Oslo City Hall, Mr Carter was greeted by nearly 2,000 children having a peace celebration in the Norwegian capital.

"It is with a deep sense of gratitude that I accept this prize," said Mr Carter.

"I am grateful to my wife Rosalynn, to my colleagues at the Carter Centre and to the many others who continue to seek an end to violence and suffering throughout the world."

"Instead of entering a millennium of peace, the world is now, in many ways, a more dangerous place. The greater ease of travel and communication has not been matched by equal understanding and mutual respect," he said.

Mr Carter, a Democrat, has repeatedly urged President George Bush to avoid a war in Iraq by working through the United Nations, and to support weapons inspections.

The Nobel Lecture

Your Majesties, Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with a deep sense of gratitude that I accept this prize. I am grateful to my wife Rosalynn, to my colleagues at The Carter Center, and to many others who continue to seek an end to violence and suffering throughout the world. The scope and character of our Center's activities are perhaps unique, but in many other ways they are typical of the work being done by many hundreds of nongovernmental organizations that strive for human rights and peace.

Most Nobel Laureates have carried out our work in safety, but there are others who have acted with great personal courage. None has provided more vivid reminders of the dangers of peacemaking than two of my friends, Anwar Sadat and Yitzak Rabin, who gave their lives for the cause of peace in the Middle East.

Like these two heroes, my first chosen career was in the military, as a submarine officer. My shipmates and I realized that we had to be ready to fight if combat was forced upon us, and we were prepared to give our lives to defend our nation and its principles. At the same time, we always prayed fervently that our readiness would ensure that there would be no war.

Later, as President and as Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces, I was one of those who bore the sobering responsibility of maintaining global stability during the height of the Cold War, as the world's two superpowers confronted each other. Both sides understood that an unresolved political altercation or a serious misjudgment could lead to a nuclear holocaust. In Washington and in Moscow, we knew that we would have less than a half hour to respond after we learned that intercontinental missiles had been launched against us. There had to be a constant and delicate balancing of our great military strength with aggressive diplomacy, always seeking to build friendships with other nations, large and small, that shared a common cause.

In those days, the nuclear and conventional armaments of the United States and the Soviet Union were almost equal, but democracy ultimately prevailed because of commitments to freedom and human rights, not only by people in my country and those of our allies, but in the former Soviet empire as well. As president, I extended my public support and encouragement to Andrei Sakharov, who, although denied the right to attend the ceremony, was honored here for his personal commitments to these same ideals.

The world has changed greatly since I left the White House. Now there is only one superpower, with unprecedented military and economic strength. The coming budget for American armaments will be greater than those of the next fifteen nations combined, and there are troops from the United States in many countries throughout the world. …

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