Celebrating the legacy and impact of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter

panel about Carters
Carter School Professor Marc Gopin (far right) led a discussion with religious leaders Rabbi Gerald Serotta, Katherine Marshall, Reverend Rodney S. Sadler, and Reverend Julie Pennington-Russell on the topic of humanitarian service and religion at the Carter Legacy Symposium. Photo by Max Taylor Photography

The Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution hosted a two-day symposium, “A Celebration of Legacy and Impact: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Peacemakers and Leaders for Change,” at Mason Square in Arlington on Oct. 16-17. The symposium commemorated the Carters’ contributions to making the world more peaceful.

“Peace is the greatest good, requiring courage, resilience, and an undying belief in humanity's ability to rise above its differences,” Carter School dean Alpaslan Özerdem said in his conference opening remarks. “President and Mrs. Carter urge us to ‘think for peace,’ ‘act for peace,’ and ‘be peace.’”

Attendees participated in and heard thought-provoking presentations on Jimmy Carter’s political career and the Carters’ humanitarian work. Speakers included Ajay Vinzé, dean of the School of Business; Mark J. Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government;  Melissa J. Perry, dean of the College of Public Health;  former governor Terry McAuliffe; Barbara Smith, VP of peace programs at the Carter Center; Daniel Kurtzer, former ambassador to Egypt and Israel; Donald S. Beyer, Jr., U.S. Representative for Virginia’s 8th District; Gerald E. Connolly, U.S. Representative for Virginia’s 11th District; Timothy Kaine, U.S. Senator from Virginia; Meghan Stewart, Deputy U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen and Team Lead of the U.S. State Department’s Negotiations Support Unit; and several religious and nonprofit leaders from the Washington, D.C., region.

Highlights included:

  • A behind-the-scenes photo presentation of the Camp David Peace Accords by Bill Fitz-Patrick, former White House photographer;
  • A discussion of the history of global and mental health and the impact of the Carters’ work in addressing, de-stigmatizing, and making treatment available for mental health;
  • A panel of local religious leaders—including Reverend Julie Pennington-Russell, senior pastor at the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, D.C., where Jimmy Carter worshipped and taught Sunday School during his presidency—speaking on the topic of humanitarian service and religion; and
  • A discussion of the events and politics that impacted Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaigns and the parallels to today.

Read Dean Özerdem’s opening remarks