Saturday, July 25, 2015

Life Beyond the Presidency

By Sara Namusoga

Former President Jimmy Carter.
By Mercer University
You can choose to keep whining about having lost your bid for a second and final term in the White House, or you can you choose to make the most of what you have been blessed with. Professional skills, a hobby or talent, are some good tools one can use to serve both his people and the rest of humanity in various ways.

A visit to the Carter Centre in Atlanta, Georgia, ended up being both informative and thought provoking. I did not know much about President Jimmy Carter except that he is a former President of the United States of America and that he is respected in as far as the peace in the Middle East is concerned. Almost every American I have met over the past three weeks has said that President Carter has accomplished more as former president than he did when he was president. Most Americans admire him for that.

Most people know President Carter for his pioneering work in election observation. “The Carter Centre has observed 100 elections in 38 countries and continues to forge methods and tools that lead the field,” reads a statement from the website.

President Carter the diplomat looks on as 
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (left) 
and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin (right) 
shake hands during the Israeli-Egyptian negotiations
I learnt during this visit that by setting up the Carter Centre, library and museum after his retirement from public office, President Carter created jobs for over 200 people at the headquarters in Atlanta and several other hundreds in other parts of the world. His guinea worm eradication programme has been hailed as successful.  “The Guinea worm eradication campaign has averted at least 80 million cases of this devastating disease among the world's poorest and most neglected people,” reports the Carter Centre website. According to Deanna Congileo, Director of Public Information/Press Secretary, “Mr Carter hopes he will outlive the guinea worm”.

Some of the paint work by President Carter at the Carter Centre in Atlanta
Some of the paintings by President Carter at the Carter Centre
 in Atlanta, Georgia
President Carter’s story tells us that there is life beyond the presidency. He chose to serve the American people and the rest of the world even after he left office. He opened up his life to the public, through the Carter Museum, which depicts his life from when he was a child until now. It is as if he has nothing to hide from the world. The staff at the Carter Centre tell us that he writes a book every year, he likes doing woodwork and he is painter. In fact, some of the paintings on display at the Centre have been donated to the Centre by him, explains Sarah K. Johnson, Associate Director, Democracy Programme at the Carter Centre. He is also involved in teaching at Emory University and religion is a key aspect of his life.

I could say that President Carter has put to use his talents, professional skills and passion, in order to serve humanity. When I grow up, I want to be like President Carter.

1 comment:

linyan said...

Great writing! Learned a few details that I'v missed during the visit from this blog!