The new Agency for International Communication will play a central role in building these two-way bridges of understanding between our people and the other peoples of the world. Only by knowing and understanding each other's experiences can we find common ground on which we can examine and resolve our differences.Jimmy Carter, 11 October 1977.
He had warned the Secret Service, but it came as a surprise to the crowd. Just a short way into his inauguration parade, Jimmy Carter ordered his armored limousine to stop. The crowd fell suddenly silent, suspecting that something was wrong. The President and his family got out and walked the rest of the way along Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. Carter's walk was symbolic of his intent to be a President for and of the people, with a new vision of America's place as a good citizen in the global community. He had run against détente, Watergate, and cynicism in government. In his inaugural address he called for the country to return to its best principles and pledged to promote human rights around the world. “Because we are free,” he declared, “we can never be indifferent to the fate of freedom elsewhere.”
The USIA pulled out all the stops to introduce Jimmy Carter abroad. The agency created a set of satellite television programs on the event for Egypt, Poland, Greece, Korea, Indonesia, Zaire, and Columbia, each fronted by a well-known journalist from that country, and a widely used four-part video series in English, Spanish, and French, called Transition '77, to introduce the administration.