Ambassador Andrew Young: The Spirit of AABD

Ambassador Andrew Young: The Spirit of AABD

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  • August 27, 2019
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The legendary civil rights leader, former U.S. congressman, and former Mayor of Atlanta, Andrew Young Jnr., is the first to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Academy of African Business and Development (AABD). This award recognizes policy makers and business leaders who have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to championing business and economic development in Africa.

Ambassador Young’s relationship with AABD started in 2004 when he was invited to deliver a keynote speech at the 2004 AABD Annual Conference in Atlanta. He thinks of Africa as the missing link in the global economy: “… we’re going to have to return to Africa together- Americans, Europeans, Chinese, and Latins, and we will find in Africa not just minerals, but also markets. We’ll find the intelligence, we’ll find the herbal knowledge and medicines that I think will help us have a lower cost health insurance and I just have– I’ve staked my hopes on the African continent for the future.”  Thirteen years later, Ambassador Young was delighted to accept another invitation of the AABD to be the Keynote speaker at the 2017 AABD Annual Conference held at Georgia State University, Atlanta, during which he received the Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ambassador Young revealed the roots of his passion for Africa to his missionary upbringing in an interview in 2008. “I was raised with a kind of missionary spirit and actually, in 1955, I had signed up to go to Africa as a missionary. The Portuguese weren’t letting us in and would not let us into Angola, so we ended up going to Georgia instead.”

This early obstacle did not stop Ambassador Young from pursuing his passion for Africa. As the first African American Ambassador to the United Nations, he is credited with helping to negotiate an end to white minority rule in Zimbabwe and Namibia. He later served as the Chairman of the Leon Sullivan Foundation and helped host biennial summit to promote economic development in Africa. In 1996, he co- founded GoodWorks International to promote sustainable economic development in Africa and the Caribbean.  Ambassador Young also formed the Andrew Young Jnr. Foundation to promote education, leadership and human rights in the United states, Africa and Caribbean.  Today, the Andrew Young Foundation organizes frequent trips for U.S businesses to African countries. Ambassador Young frequently travels to Africa to foster economic development. His latest project is the championing of the International University of Grand Bassam, a U.S style of University education, in Cote D’Ivoire.

No one exemplifies the AABD’s leitmotif of “confidence in Africa’s future” than Ambassador Andrew Young, the diplomat, pastor, mayor, educator, and civil rights leader.

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