As 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter's significant foreign-policy accomplishments included the Panama Canal treaties; the strategic arms limitation treaty (SALT II) signed with Soviet president Leonid Brezhnev; the Camp David Accords between Israeli premier Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar el-Sadat; and the establishment of full diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China.
A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Mr. Carter's naval career took him to many parts of the world, including Asia. He rose to the rank of lieutenant, working under Admiral Hyman Rickover in the nuclear submarine program. President Carter's rise to political prominence began when he chaired the Sumter County School Board in his native Georgia. After serving as the first president of the Georgia Planning Association he was elected to the State Senate in 1962, followed by his election as state governor in 1971. He announced his candidacy for the United States presidency in 1974 and won the general election in 1976, thereby completing the most rapid ascent in modern American politics.
In 1982 Mr. Carter became University Distinguished Professor at Emory University in Atlanta. In partnership with the university he also founded The Carter Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization actively promoting human rights, international conflict resolution, agriculture advancements in the developing world, and the prevention of disease. President Carter is the author of sixteen books, many now in revised editions, including most recently Talking Peace: A Vision for the Next Generation. President and Mrs. Carter are also regular volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, earning national recognition for an organization dedicated to building affordable housing for the needy.
The Oksenberg Lectures honor the memory of Professor Michel Oksenberg, who was a senior fellow at the Institute for International Studies. A pioneer in the field of Chinese politics, Mike was an important force in shaping American attitudes toward China, and was consistently outspoken about the need for the United States to be more thoughtful and informed in its engagement of Asia.
Professor Oksenberg was a cherished colleague here at the Asia/Pacific Research Center, and a beloved mentor to generations of China scholars. As a tribute to his legacy, the Shorenstein Forum has established The Oksenberg Lectures, to be delivered annually by a distinguished practitioner of America's affairs with Asia.