Andrew J. Young
Andrew Young has always viewed his career through the lens of his first career— that of an ordained minister. His work for civil and human rights, his many years in public office as a U.S. Congressman, United Nations Ambassador and Mayor of Atlanta, his leadership of the Atlanta Olympic Games, his advocacy of investment in Africa through GoodWorks International, and the establishment of the Andrew J. Young Foundation are all in response to his call to serve.
Ambassador Young brings a unique perspective, honed by his wealth of experience in national and global leadership, to his focus on this era’s challenges. He confronted segregation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and galvanized a movement that transformed a nation through nonviolence. Young was a key strategist and negotiator during the Civil Rights Campaigns in Birmingham and Selma that resulted in the passage Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
He was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1972, the first African-American elected from the Deep South since Reconstruction. He served on the Banking and Urban Affairs and Rules Committees, sponsoring legislation that established a U.S. Institute for Peace, The African Development Bank and the Chattahoochee River National Park, while negotiating federal funds for MARTA (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority), the Atlanta highway system and a new international airport for Atlanta. His support helped Jimmy Carter win the Democratic Party nomination and aided Mr. Carter’s subsequent election to the Presidency. In 1977, President Carter appointed Andy Young to serve as the nation’s first African-American Ambassador to the United Nations, where he negotiated an end to white-minority rule in Namibia and Zimbabwe and brought President Carter’s emphasis on human rights to international diplomacy.
Ambassador Young’s leadership as Mayor of Atlanta occurred during a recession and a reduction in federal funds for cities. He turned to international markets for investments in Atlanta, attracting 1,100 new businesses, $70 billion in investment, and adding 1 million jobs to the region. He developed public-private partnerships to leverage public dollars for the preservation of Zoo Atlanta.
Ambassador Young led the effort to bring the Centennial Olympic Games to Atlanta. As Co-Chair of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, he oversaw the largest Olympic Games in history in terms of numbers of participating countries, competing athletes and the number of spectators. He was awarded the Olympic Order, the highest award of the Olympic Movement.
Ambassador Young retired from GoodWorks International, LLC, in 2012 after well over a decade of facilitating sustainable economic development in the business sectors of the Caribbean and Africa.
Presidential Medal of Freedom, and France awarded him the Legion d’Honneur, each presenting the highest civilian honor for that particular nation. He recently received an Emmy Lifetime Achievement award, and in 2011, his portrait became part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. President Bill Clinton appointed him founding chair of the Southern African Enterprise Development Fund. He serves on a number of boards, including: the Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent Social
Change, Barrick Gold, the United Nations Foundation, the Atlanta Falcons, the Andrew Young School for Policy Studies at Georgia State University, and Morehouse College. Andrew Young Presents, the Emmy-nominated, nationally syndicated series of specials produced by Ambassador Young through the Andrew J. Young Foundation, Inc. is seen in nearly 100 American markets and worldwide through the American Forces Network. The Andrew Young Foundation documents, preserves and interprets Ambassador Young’s legacy of servant leadership in ending racism, war and poverty for current and future leaders.
Ambassador Young is the author of three books: A Way Out of No Way; An Easy Burden; and Walk in My Shoes. He is the father of four and the grandfather of eight. Ambassador Young and his wife, educator and civic leader Carolyn McClain Young, reside in Atlanta.