Remembering Rosalynn Carter: Humanitarian and Global Health Advocate


The Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University remembers Eleanor Rosalynn Carter, 96, former first lady, as an agent of peace, champion of human rights and advocate of mental health research. We send our deepest condolences to former President Jimmy Carter and their family. 

The Carters’ dedication to peace and human rights was a beacon to peacebuilders and mediators. Their tireless work inspired the renaming of Mason’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution in their honor in 2020. 

Rosalynn Carter seated outside turning to face the camera with trees in the background


“America has lost a public service icon in Rosalynn Carter’s passing,” said Mason President Gregory Washington. “We mourn a world without her, but also marvel at the life she led and the legacy she leaves. Few public figures in America have lived so long and contributed so much as Mrs. Carter did, and she leaves us with a charge to make good on her name in the work of the Carter School.”

“We mourn the loss and celebrate the life of former first lady Rosalynn Carter,” said Carter School Dean Alpaslan Özerdem. “She was an inspirational humanitarian and peacemaker. The Carter School, shaped and inspired by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter’s legacy, stands as a beacon in today’s turbulent times, and their name signifies more than just a legacy—it's a torch, a commitment, a promise.”

Former first lady, mother, wife, author, and activist, Rosalynn Carter was named "second most powerful person in the United States" by Time Magazine during her time in the White House. However, her humanitarian work extended far beyond her years in the White House. Together with her husband, Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the United States, she championed democracy and human rights around the globe, from monitoring free elections to working with Habitat for Humanity, with which they worked for more than 35 years.  It was with these goals in mind that she cofounded the Carter Center in 1982.  

Rosalynn Carter was also a vocal advocate for global heath and campaigned to de-stigmatize mental health issues. She served as a board member emeritus of the National Mental Health Association and was an Honorary Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Rosalynn Carter was also the president of the board of directors for the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, which promotes policies and programs to address the needs of family caregivers.

She received many awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1997, The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) established The Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award to honor “individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to public health through scientific achievement, philanthropy, and policy work.”  In 2023 Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter received the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Goalkeepers Lifetime Achievement Award.


About the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution

George Mason University’s Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution is a community of faculty, students, staff, alumni, and partners with a fundamental commitment to building peace. Through the development of cutting-edge theory, research, education, and practical work, we seek to identify and address the underlying causes of conflict and provide tools for ethical and just peacebuilding on the local, national, and global stages.

About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 40,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility. In 2023, the university launched Mason Now: Power the Possible, a one-billion-dollar comprehensive campaign to support student success, research, innovation, community, and sustainability. Learn more at 

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A Celebration of Legacy and Impact

On October 16th and 17th, the Carter School commemorated Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter as peacemakers and leaders for change.