A forthright and principled advocate for human rights and democracy, President Carter has been a member of The Elders since its founding in 2007. In October that year he joined The Elders’ mission to Sudan, highlighting the continuing atrocities and the displacement of millions of people in Darfur. He returned to Khartoum in May and July 2012 as part of a two-stage visit to the region to encourage dialogue between Sudan and South Sudan.
In November 2008, after a group of Elders was denied entry to Zimbabwe, President Carter expressed deep disappointment at the years of corruption, mismanagement and oppression by Zimbabwe’s leadership and called on the international community to respond urgently to the escalating humanitarian crisis in the country.
He joined The Elders’ delegations to the Middle East in August 2009 and October 2010, travelling to Israel, the West Bank, Egypt, Jordan and Syria to support efforts to advance an Arab-Israeli peace. In October 2012, he visited Israel, the West Bank and Egypt to draw attention to the imperilled two-state solution and lend support to the Egyptian democratic transition. Jimmy Carter also led The Elders delegation to Israel and Palestine in May 2015. During the trip, The Elders continued to support the need for a two-state solution, Palestinian reconciliation and the perilous situation in Gaza.
President Carter has visited Cyprus twice, in October 2008 and September 2009, as part of The Elders’ efforts to promote peaceful coexistence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and is featured in The Elders’ documentary about the search for missing persons on the island which was launched in London in 2011.
In April 2011, he led an Elders’ delegation to the Korean Peninsula and China with the aim of contributing to easing tensions between North and South Korea – still officially at war with each other for more than 60 years – and drawing attention to the humanitarian crisis in North Korea.
At the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2011, Jimmy Carter together with Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Harlem Brundtland and Martti Ahtisaari launched The Elders’ initiative on child marriage and the Girls not Brides campaign.
In May 2012 Jimmy Carter with his fellow Elder Lakhdar Brahimi visited Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan where he met political leaders to encourage them to undertake peace efforts and ease the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan.
President Carter’s deep engagement in conflict resolution led him to travel to Washington D.C in July 2013 with an Elders’ delegation to meet relevant US political leaders to discuss the situation in the Middle East. Moreover, in September 2013, he visited Myanmar with Gro Harlem Brundtland and Martti Ahtisaari where they met with leaders and civil society representatives involved in supporting the peace process with ethnic minority armed groups and addressing ongoing violence in Rakhine state.
In April 2014, together with his fellow Elders Hina Jilani and Mary Robinson, Jimmy Carter travelled to Paris to hold a public discussion with young people and activists on climate change at Sciences Po university.
Jimmy Carter joined The Elders’ delegation to Moscow in April 2015. Led by Kofi Annan, President Carter along with Martti Ahtisaari, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Harlem Brundtland and Ernesto Zedillo visited Russia to discuss key geopolitical issues. During the trip, The Elders met with President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, as well as former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
In June 2016, President Carter stepped down from his front-line role as a member of The Elders. Praised by Chair Kofi Annan for bringing "the gravitas of his Presidential office but also the passion of an activist…”, he remains an Elder Emeritus.