The former president and first lady were jointly recognized for their partnership in a courageous collaboration to improve human rights and alleviate suffering around the world. Over the span of more than four decades their work has focused on improving health, preventing and resolving conflicts and enhancing freedom and democracy.
They are the first couple to receive the award, which recognizes those who demonstrate leadership to improve the human condition despite personal risks and challenges.
After the ceremony, the Carters participated in a town hall discussion with Georgia Tech students.
“It’s a pleasure always to be associated with the Ivan Allen family in any way. We’ve been close to the family for a long time,” said Jimmy Carter, who attended Georgia Tech and received an honorary degree from the Institute in 1979. “In every respect my heart is with Georgia Tech and completely faithful to Ivan Allen himself and his family, and this award has special meaning for me.”
“This is a great honor for me, especially to receive an award in the name of Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. for whom I had such great admiration,” Rosalynn Carter said. “Mayor Allen was a beacon of light for Jimmy and for me and so many others actually in our whole country, standing up for what was good and what was right.”
The Carters, who have been married for more than 70 years, have accomplished much together, whether it be their time in the White House, his receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 or her groundbreaking work in mental health advocacy.
The Ivan Allen Jr. Prize in Social Courage honors the people behind the efforts to improve the human condition. The award is named for former Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. Funded in perpetuity by a grant from the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation, the Allen Prize includes a $100,000 stipend.