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Jonathan Alter: Jimmy Carter and Human Rights
November 6 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Free in-person and online! Our fall series celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights continues with an interview of journalist and author Jonathan Alter hosted by Leader Dr. Joe Chuman.
About His Very Best
From one of America’s most respected journalists and modern historians comes the highly acclaimed, “splendid” (The Washington Post) biography of Jimmy Carter, the thirty-ninth president of the United States and Nobel Prize-winning humanitarian.
Jonathan Alter tells the epic story of an enigmatic man of faith and his improbable journey from barefoot boy to global icon. Alter paints an intimate and surprising portrait of the only president since Thomas Jefferson who can fairly be called a Renaissance Man, a complex figure–ridiculed and later revered–with a piercing intelligence, prickly intensity, and biting wit beneath the patented smile. Here is a moral exemplar for our times, a flawed but underrated president of decency and vision who was committed to telling the truth to the American people.
Growing up in one of the meanest counties in the Jim Crow South, Carter is the only American president who essentially lived in three centuries: his early life on the farm in the 1920s without electricity or running water might as well have been in the nineteenth; his presidency put him at the center of major events in the twentieth; and his efforts on conflict resolution and global health set him on the cutting edge of the challenges of the twenty-first.
“One of the best in a celebrated genre of presidential biography,” (The Washington Post), His Very Best traces how Carter evolved from a timid, bookish child–raised mostly by a Black woman farmhand–into an ambitious naval nuclear engineer writing passionate, never-before-published love letters from sea to his wife and full partner, Rosalynn; a peanut farmer and civic leader whose guilt over staying silent during the civil rights movement and not confronting the white terrorism around him helped power his quest for racial justice at home and abroad; an obscure, born-again governor whose brilliant 1976 campaign demolished the racist wing of the Democratic Party and took him from zero percent to the presidency; a stubborn outsider who failed politically amid the bad economy of the 1970s and the seizure of American hostages in Iran but succeeded in engineering peace between Israel and Egypt, amassing a historic environmental record, moving the government from tokenism to diversity, setting a new global standard for human rights and normalizing relations with China among other unheralded and far-sighted achievements. After leaving office, Carter eradicated diseases, built houses for the poor, and taught Sunday school into his mid-nineties.
This “important, fair-minded, highly readable contribution” (The New York Times Book Review) will change our understanding of perhaps the most misunderstood president in American history.
About Jonathan Alter
Jonathan Alter is an award-winning author, political analyst, documentary filmmaker, columnist, television producer and radio host.
Alter’s most recent book is “His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life.” (2020), which received uniformly favorable reviews. His earlier books include three New York Times bestsellers: “The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies” (2013), “The Promise: President Obama, Year One” (2010) and “The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope” (2006), also one of the Times’ “Notable Books” of the year.
A former senior editor and columnist at Newsweek, Alter is a longtime political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. He co-produced and co-directed the HBO documentary “Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists,” which won the 2020 Emmy for Outstanding Historical Documentary. In 2013-2014, he was an executive producer of “Alpha House,“ a comedy on Amazon.
Over the years, Alter has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Washington Monthly, the New Yorker, Bloomberg, the Daily Beast and other publications. In 2021, he launched a weekly Substack newsletter called “OLD GOATS, Ruminating with Friends,” which includes frequent columns and his conversations with accomplished people of wisdom and experience. Since 2016, he has hosted “Alter Family Politics“ each week on Sirius XM, 102 with his three adult children.
About Leader Dr. Joe Chuman
Joe Chuman started on his road to Ethical Leadership as a leader-in-Training here at the New York Society in 1969 and continued his training at the Bergen Society, after which he became Leader of the Essex County Society before returning to the Bergen Society, where he served as leader for 46 years, retiring in January 2021. Joe has been a leader at the New York Society Since 2008. During his long career, Joe has worked as an academic, a social justice activist, a speaker, and a writer. He has been teaching human rights in the Graduate School at Columbia University for more than 20 years, teaches human rights at Hunter College, and has taught at the U. N. University for Peace in Costa Rica and at other colleges.
As an activist, Joe has advocated for civil liberties, human rights, and other progressive causes and has frequently testified before the New Jersey legislature on such issues as religious freedom, gun violence prevention, death penalty opposition, and immigrant rights. He founded the Northern New Jersey Coalition for Asylum Seekers 20 years ago and still serves as its president. Joe has written numerous book chapters, encyclopedia entrees, scores of Op-eds, and is the author of “Speaking of Ethics,” a compilation of essays on Ethical Culture. Currently, he writes articles on political and socio-political issues on Substack and other social media outlets.
About the Ethical NYC Universal Declaration of Human Rights 75th Anniversary Series
Called humanity’s Magna Carta by our friend Eleanor Roosevelt, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the foundational document of human rights that has inspired over a hundred treaties, conventions, bills, declarations, and constitutional provisions around the world.
Join us for this four-event event series celebrating the institution of fundamental rights that we all share as human beings.
Monday, November 6 at 7:00pm: Jonathan Alter on Jimmy Carter and Human Rights