UC Merced officials said former President Jimmy Carter has been named the 2010 recipient of the Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance.
The university will award the prize during Carter's previously announced visit to the campus May 3 for the National Parks Institute, which is by invitation only.
The Spendlove Prize honors an individual who exemplifies the delivery of social justice, diplomacy and tolerance in his work. It was established through a gift to the university from Sherrie Spendlove in honor of her parents, lifelong Merced residents Alice and Clifford Spendlove, the university said in a news release.
"We are deeply grateful to Sherrie Spendlove for establishing this important prize at UC Merced," said UC Merced Chancellor Steve Kang. "It serves as an annual reminder of the compassion of the human spirit and the need to recognize those who exemplify it so tirelessly and effectively."
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The 39th president of the United States (1977-1981), Carter made the global quest for basic human rights a central platform of his administration. He stepped up international efforts to bring peace to the Middle East, brokering a historic peace accord between Israel and Egypt in 1979. 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, the news release continued.
He remains active in a wide variety of national and global humanitarian issues, from monitoring elections worldwide for a democratic and peaceful outcome, to pioneering the eradication of tropical diseases in Africa, to hands-on work with former first lady Rosalynn Carter on Habitat for Humanity projects, UC Merced said.
"Former President Jimmy Carter's continued tireless efforts for international peace and basic human rights for the marginalized are both staggering and far-reaching," said Sherrie Spendlove. "Whether working to reconcile opposing sides in the Middle East or elsewhere through the Carter Center's Conflict Resolution Program or advocating greater mental health awareness for children, Jimmy Carter is a humanitarian of the first order and a true citizen of the world."
The Spendlove Prize Selection Committee is chaired by the dean of the UC Merced School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts (SSHA) and includes a representative from the Spendlove family or a designee; an undergraduate student; a graduate student; a faculty member; and representatives from the UC Merced community.
"President Carter is receiving the fifth annual Spendlove Prize for his commitment to advancing human rights and alleviating unnecessary human suffering and for his continuous work towards creating a world in which every man, woman and child has the opportunity to enjoy good health and live in peace," said Hans Björnsson, chair of the committee, who served as interim dean of SSHA until January.
The Spendlove Prize includes a $10,000 award.