On June 3, 2017, The Andrew J. Young Foundation presented the second biennial Andrew J. Young International Leadership Awards and welcomed the city of Atlanta and guests from around the world to celebrate the 85th birthday of its founder and chair, Ambassador Andrew Young.
The gala honored the next generation of leaders from around the world who, in the tradition of Young, are committed to civil and human rights for all.
The theme of the 2017 Andrew J. Young International Leadership Awards and 85th Birthday Tribute was “Lead Young,” highlighting the Foundation’s commitment to supporting and developing emerging leaders and their ideas.
The 2017 Andrew J. Young International Leadership Award recipients:
- Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, and Bob Bland, National Co-Chairs of the Women’s March on Washington for inspiring and organizing a worldwide outpouring of positive civic engagement;
- Ron Clark, for creating a transformational school that models teaching excellence and nurtures future leaders, and opens its doors to share those strategies with thousands of other educators;
- Activist, commentator, and Dream Corps founder Van Jones, for promoting human rights and police accountability and helping young people fill jobs, not jails;
- Singer, songwriter, rapper and producer Akon, whose Akon Lighting Africa project is using small-scale solar energy systems and street lights to bring transformational change to communities in Africa whose development has been harmed by lack of electricity; and Former Vice President Joe Biden, whose lifetime of public service was recognized by President Barack Obama with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Former Vice President Joe Biden was unable to attend the event but did send in a heartfelt video and highlighted his long relationship with Ambassador Young. “I value an award based upon the organization giving the award,” Biden said. “This is one of the most consequential awards I’ve ever been given,” said Vice President Joe Biden.
The Chairman’s Award honor is given to an individual whose lifelong leadership has demonstrated excellence in areas that reflect Ambassador Young’s life’s work as Pastor (Community Engagement), Activist (Civil Rights and Civic Participation), U.N. Ambassador (International Humanitarian Initiatives) and Congressman and Mayor of Atlanta (Public Policy and Advocacy).
“We were thrilled to host the awards program and convene some of today’s most inspiring leaders whose work is having a positive impact on people and communities worldwide,” said Carolyn McClain Young, wife of Ambassador Young and vice chair of the Foundation. “My husband’s life shows us how much of a difference a committed individual can make and reminds us we can accomplish great things when we strive together in a noble cause.”
“Changing the world happens one step at a time, through acts of leadership and courage,” said Ambassador Young. “It is the work of generations, with progress made possible by those who pass on the lessons learned from both successes and setbacks, and most importantly, the necessary knowledge that positive change is indeed possible.”Ambassador Andrew Young.
The celebratory affair featured tribute performances from singer, songwriter, poet and actress, Jill Scott; rapper, musician and actor Wyclef Jean; singer, songwriter Estelle, young leaders.renowned gospel singer and musician, Anthony Brown, and Harpist Tulani.
All proceeds from the event benefited the Andrew Young Foundation’s current programs to preserve civil and human rights and help support and sustain future initiatives.
The gala event was held at the Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta and was hosted by ABC’s “Black-ish” star, Anthony Anderson. Sponsors included Delta Airlines, Forbes Africa, Cox Enterprises, The Coca-Cola Company, and V-103 FM Atlanta.
About the Andrew Young Foundation
The Andrew J. Young Foundation develops programs and strategic partnerships that address the basic human needs of international communities. The Foundation also invest in the development of the next generation of leaders to continue this work by facilitating connections between individuals who are young and old that are committed to solution-oriented action on global challenges that will face future generations. More details can be found here Andrew Young Foundation.