On October 11, 2002, former President Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for 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.”
Carter, a peanut farmer from Georgia, served one term as U.S. president between 1977 and 1981. One of his key achievements as president was mediating the peace talks between Israel and Egypt in 1978. The Nobel Committee had wanted to give Carter the prize that year for his efforts, along with Anwar Sadat and Menachim Begin, but was prevented from doing so by a technicality–he had not been nominated by the official deadline.
After he left office, Carter and his wife Rosalynn created the Atlanta-based Carter Center in 1982 to advance human rights and alleviate human suffering. Since 1984, they have worked with Habitat for Humanity to build homes and raise awareness of homelessness. Among his many accomplishments, Carter has helped to fight disease and improve economic growth in developing nations and has served as an observer at numerous political elections around the world.
On October 12, 2007, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to increase public knowledge about man-made climate change.
Just recently we took our daughter as a potential future student to Rutgers University in New Jersey for an open house about their Meteorology program and learned that several of the University’s professors were instrumental in the work that lead to Al Gore being awarded the prize.
In 2006, Gore had starred in the Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which was credited with raising international awareness about the global warming crisis.
Gore, a former senator from Tennessee who served as President Bill Clinton’s vice president from 1993 to 2001, is considered one of the first politicians to recognize the dangers of carbon dioxide emissions, a cause of human-induced global warming. Gore became interested in the topic of global warming during a college course he took at Harvard University. As a congressman, he held hearings on climate change in the late 1970s, a time when most Americans had little or no knowledge of the issue. After losing the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush, Gore embarked on a new campaign—the fight against man-made climate change—and gave slide-show presentations around the world in an effort to educate the public. An Inconvenient Truth chronicled Gore’s efforts to educate audiences with his “traveling global warming road show.” In the film, he details the facts and falsehoods surrounding this “planetary emergency” and describes the events in his own life that led him to become an environmental crusader.
One of the highest-grossing documentaries in U.S. history, An Inconvenient Truth played in theaters around the planet. It was credited with helping to spur the “green movement” that spread across the United States in 2007, as the media focused more attention on the problems associated with climate change. In Hollywood, actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio began driving hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius and generally promoting a more eco-friendly lifestyle, while various film companies pledged to become “carbon-neutral.”
The first Nobel Prizes–awards established by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) in his will–were handed out in Sweden in 1901 in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. The Nobel Prize in economics was first awarded in 1969. Carter was the third U.S. president to receive the award, worth $1 million, following Theodore Roosevelt (1906) and Woodrow Wilson (1919).