Andrew Young Person Detail


Keynote Speaker

ambassador Andrew Young

Ambassador Andrew Young is nothing less than a living legend. An icon of the Civil Rights movement, he worked as executive director of SCLC, the Southern Christian Leadership Council, where he became a top strategist and trusted friend to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and witnessed his assassination. In 1972, a predominately white district in Georgia elected Andrew Young as its representative to the United States Congress, making him the first black man to serve the state in Washington since the Reconstruction era.

Andrew Young served in Congress for three terms before being appointed United States Ambassador to the United Nations by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. In that role, he became a champion of human rights around the world, and particularly in Africa, where he spearheaded the administration’s efforts to end apartheid. In 1982, he was first elected Mayor of Atlanta, and during two remarkable terms is credited with transforming the city into an international metropolis. It was largely because of his international influence that Atlanta was chosen to host the Centennial Olympic Games in 1996, which Ambassador Young served as co-chairman.

In 1996, Andrew Young also married Carolyn McClain and slowly returned to the public spotlight. He authored several books, including: A Way Out of No Way (1994), and An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of America (1998). In 2000, Ambassador Young served a one-year term as President of the National Council of Churches, the organization he once served as a teenage volunteer. And in 2003, he established the Andrew J. Young Foundation to support and promote education, health, leadership and human rights in the United States, Africa and the Caribbean.

Since leaving public office, Andrew Young has been a sort of ambassador to the world, devoting much of his life’s work to Africa and its vast economic potential. Sought after as an advisor to world leaders, as a speaker on the lecture circuit, and a frequent commentator on CNN and other news channels, Ambassador Young is a keen observer of politics and world events. An ordained minister with the United Church of Christ for over six decades, he continues to preach and considers the work of the Andrew J. Young Foundation an extension of his ministry and of the Civil Rights movement itself.