Ambassador Andrew Young will be awarded a lifetime achievement award at the Corporate Council on Africa's seventh biennial U.S.-Africa Business Summit, to be held in Washington September 29 to October 1.
"Ambassador Young is and has been an advocate of human rights and humanitarian issues as well as dedicated to promoting economic prosperity in Africa," said Stephen Hayes, president and chief executive of the Corporate Council on Africa, in a September 3 statement announcing the award. "We are grateful for the opportunity to honor the commitment he has shown to Africa throughout his career."
Established in 1993, the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) works to strengthen and facilitate commercial relationships between the United States and the African continent. CCA works closely with governments, multilateral groups and businesses to improve the African continent's trade and investment climate, and to raise the profile of Africa in the U.S. business community.
Young started his career as a top aide to Martin Luther King Jr. during the American civil rights movement. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972, becoming the first African American since Reconstruction to be voted into Congress from Georgia. In 1977, appointed by President Jimmy Carter, Young became the first African American to serve as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, popularly known as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Beginning in 1981 he served two terms as mayor of Atlanta, bringing in billions of dollars in new private investment. In 1996, he also served as co-chairman of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.
Young was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994 to serve as chairman of the $100 million Southern Africa Enterprise Development Fund, whose objective is to stimulate the creation and expansion of small and medium-sized indigenous businesses throughout southern Africa. The fund was also founded on the initiative of then-South African President Nelson Mandela. In his role as fund chairman, Young helped establish the Eerste River Medical Centre in Cape Town, alleviating demand on overcrowded hospitals.
Young is also co-chairman of GoodWorks International, a for-profit consulting firm built on the belief that the private sector can promote initiatives that support education, social advancement, economic development and capacity building in Africa and the Caribbean. He travels often to Africa, fostering partnerships that benefit the communities in which they operate. In 2008, the GoodWorks Foundation partnered with the Wanawake na Maendeleo Foundation to award educational scholarships in Tanzania.
ALSO AN AWARD-WINNING TELEVISION PRODUCER
In June 2009, Young won three Emmy awards for Andrew Young Presents, a series of documentaries that appeared in the United States and in Central and Eastern Africa as well. One of the Emmy awards was for "Walking With Guns," which focused on youth violence. The documentary also told the inspiring story of Wheelchair Charities, a New York organization that helps thousands of paraplegic and quadriplegic patients, many of them gunshot victims.
Young also produced the award-winning documentary Rwanda Rising, which showcased modern-day Rwanda on the global stage.
Young's commitment to education and global service is evident at Georgia State University's Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, which was created to carry on the legacy of Young's ideals through programs he believes will "level the playing field" for the world's poor.
The scholars and researchers at the school operate on the principle that the key to ending poverty is building strong national economies. They, like Young, who occasionally teaches at the school, work to bring economic well-being to developing nations in Africa.
The school works in more than 30 countries around the globe, as well as at home, in the areas of health care, environment, taxation, aging, education, child care and diversity. Programs at the school include the Mandela Scholars program, a planned student exchange program between the Andrew Young School and the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and an ongoing program on taxation in Russia.
Responding to the CCA announcement, Young said, "I am most appreciative to the Corporate Council on Africa for this award. Since 1993 GoodWorks International and the Council have partnered to promote development, investment and trade on the African continent. I am looking forward to continuing to work with CCA in this effort."
CCA will also present a business leadership award and business excellence awards in agribusiness, infrastructure, financing and natural resources.