Arizona State University presented former president Jimmy Carter with an award last week for his humanitarian work focused on world peace, disease prevention and democracy.
Carter accepted the O’Connor Justice Prize, administered by Arizona State University and named in honor of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who is also the namesake for the new ASU law school downtown.
Carter, now 92 years old, visited Phoenix to accept the honor and speak on the powerful role the United States plays in humanitarian work throughout the globe. Following his exit from the White House, Carter created his nonprofit, the Carter Center, an organization that focuses on world peace, democracy and disease prevention. Carter became the first former president to win the honor, which ASU established in an effort to recognize O’Connor’s incredible legacy and efforts on behalf of human rights and judicial independence.
Previous recipients of the award include Ana Palacio, a former Spanish foreign affairs minister, and Navanethem Pillay, a former South African judge during the apartheid era.
Nearly 300 guests attended the award ceremony at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel and heard Carter speak about the current state of the country and focuses and goals for the future. Patricia Wald, a former federal appeals court judge who was appointed by Carter, presented the award to Carter, while O’Connor was present in the audience.
Carter served as president of the United States from 1977 to 1981, during which he appointed more women as federal judges than all previous presidents combined, restored trust in the government following the Watergate scandal, and established diplomatic relations with China.
This is not the first award Carter has received, as he was awarded the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize. His Atlanta-based Carter Center has worked to eradicate Guinea worm disease and mediate conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, while supporting human rights activists by appealing to world leaders on their behalf.
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