Andrew Young has always viewed his career through the lens of his first career- that of ordained minister. His work for civil and human rights, his many years in public office as Congressman, United Nations Ambassador and Mayor, his leadership of the Atlanta Olympic Games, his advocacy of public purpose capitalism through GoodWorks International, and the establishment of the Andrew J. Young Foundation are all a response to his call to serve.
Ambassador Young brings a unique perspective formed by his wealth of experience in National and global leadership to his focus on the challenges of this era. He confronted segregation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and galvanized a movement that transformed a nation through non-violence. 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 and 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, the Atlanta highway system and a new international airport for Atlanta. His support for Jimmy Carter helped to win the Democratic Party nomination and election to the Presidency. In 1977, President Carter appointed him to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations where he negotiated an end to white-minority rule in Namibia and Zimbabwe and brought Carter’s emphasis on human rights to international diplomacy.
Ambassador Young’s leadership as Mayor of Atlanta took place during a recession and a reduction in federal funds for cities. He turned to international markets for investments in Atlanta attracting 1100 new businesses, $70 billion in investment 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 and as Co-Chair of the Atlanta Olympic Committee; he oversaw the largest Olympic Games in history- in the number of countries, the number of athletes and the number of spectators. He was awarded the Olympic Order, the highest award of the Olympic Movement.
In 1998, Ambassador Young co-founded Good Works International, a consulting firm that connects progressive companies with fast-growing economies to promote responsible development with a focus on Africa and the Caribbean.
Ambassador Young has received honorary degrees from more than 80 universities and colleges in the U.S. and abroad. His many awards include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the NAACP’s Springarn Medal and France’s Legion d’honneur, the nation’s greatest honor. President William J. Clinton appointed him the founding chair of the Southern African Enterprise Development Fund. He serves on the boards of the Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent Social Change, Barrick Gold, the United Nations Foundation and the Atlanta Falcons, Morehouse College and the Andrew Young School for Policy Studies at Georgia State University.
Ambassador Young’s critical contributions to American life and history were celebrated in 2011 with a Lifetime Emmy Award and the placement of his portrait on permanent exhibit of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.
Andrew Young Presents, the Emmy-winning, nationally syndicated series of specials produced by Ambassador Young through the Andrew J. Young Foundation, Inc. is seen in nearly 90 American markets and around the world through the Armed Services Network. He is the author of three books A Way Out of No Way, An Easy Burden: Civil Rights and the Transformation of America and Walk in My Shoes: Conversations Between and Civil Rights Legend and His Godson on the Journey Ahead.
Ambassador Young and his wife Carolyn McClain Young – an educator and civic leader -- live in Atlanta. He is the father of four and grandfather of seven.