UC Merced announced former President Jimmy Carter will visit the campus May 3 to deliver the keynote address at a National Parks Institute seminar on the management of parks and protected lands.
Carter will speak as part of an 11-day leadership program for senior executives in the field of park and public land management from around the world. His talk will focus on critical federal legislation (the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act) that he signed into law during his presidency in 1980, the university said in a news release.
"The opportunity for park leaders from around the world to hear from President Carter on the establishment of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act offers a spectacular learning opportunity," said Steve Shackelton, former Yosemite National Park chief ranger and National Park Service associate director for visitor and resource protection. "His vision in setting aside almost 80 million acres of public lands in 1980 offers a unique case study about organizational change within the National Park Service."
In the 29 years since the end of his presidential service, Carter has been active in a wide variety of national and global issues dealing with conservation, public policy, human rights and conflict resolution, the release continued.
In 2002, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his lifetime achievements in the areas of international peace, human rights, democracy and economic and social development.
"UC Merced is deeply honored to welcome President Carter to our campus in May," said Steve Kang, UC Merced chancellor. "In his attitude and in his actions, he exemplifies extraordinary human qualities of compassion, determination, leadership and humility that are critically needed in our global society. This will be a great day for a young campus that strives to teach these same qualities to the future leaders of our state, our nation and the world."
The National Parks Institute is a collaborative venture of UC Merced and the National Park Service that provides management development curriculum for park and public land managers, promotes scientific research in parks, fosters stewardship and promotes and develops environmentally sustainable resource management practices. It was introduced by Congress in 2003 under legislation (HR 1289) sponsored by California congressmen George Radanovich, R-Mariposa, and Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced.
The NPI Executive Leadership Seminar begins April 27 at the Institute of the Golden Gate in San Francisco, moves to UC Merced May 3 and concludes with several days in Yosemite National Park. Limited to 30 participants, the sessions aren't open to the public.
In addition to Carter, confirmed speakers for the seminar include Roger C. Bales, director, UC Merced Sierra Nevada Research Institute; Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks; Jack Dangermond, founder, Environmental Systems Research Institute; Roger Kennedy, director, National Parks Service (1993-1997); Charles A. O'Reilly, professor, Stanford Graduate School of Business; David Sibbet, president and founder, Grove Consultants International; Sam Traina, vice chancellor for research and dean of graduate studies, UC Merced; and UC Merced professors Maurizio Forte, Teenie Matlock and Anthony Westerling.
Carter is the second major figure with White House connections to visit the newest campus in the University of California system. In May 2009, first lady Michelle Obama delivered the keynote address at commencement exercises for UC Merced's first four-year class of graduates.