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Ambassador Andrew Young to Honor Former Vice President Joe Biden, Van Jones, Akon, Women’s March Org

Awards Gala and 85th Birthday hosted by Anthony Anderson with performances by Usher,

Jill Scott, Wyclef Jean, Estelle and Anthony Brown in celebration of Andrew J. Young

May 11, 2017 (ATLANTA) – The Andrew J. Young Foundation today announced the recipients of the 2017 Andrew J. Young International Leadership Awards, recognizing exceptional individuals whose activism, philanthropy and leadership are transforming lives throughout the global community. The awards will be presented at the Foundation’s gala event on June 3, 2017, at the Philips Arena in Atlanta as part of the 85th birthday celebration of its founder and chair, Ambassador Andrew Young.

“Changing the world happens one step at a time, through acts of leadership and courage,” said Ambassador Young. “It is the work of generations, with progress made possible by those who pass on the lessons learned from both successes and setbacks, and most importantly, the necessary knowledge that positive change is indeed possible.”

The Chairman’s Award will be presented to former Vice President Joseph Biden. The honor is given to an individual whose lifelong leadership has demonstrated excellence in areas that reflect Ambassador Young’s life’s work as Pastor (Community Engagement), Activist (Civil Rights and Civic Participation), U.N. Ambassador (International Humanitarian Initiatives) and Congressman and Mayor of Atlanta (Public Policy and Advocacy).

“I value an award based upon the organization giving the award,” Biden said. “This is one of the most consequential awards I’ve ever been given.”

The theme of the 2017 Andrew J. Young International Leadership Awards and 85th Birthday Tribute is “Lead Young,” highlighting the Foundation’s commitment to supporting and developing emerging leaders and their ideas.

The 2017 Andrew J. Young International Leadership Award recipients are:

  • Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, and Bob Bland, National Co-Chairs of the Women’s March on Washington for inspiring and organizing a worldwide outpouring of positive civic engagement;

  • Ron Clark, for creating a transformational school that models teaching excellence and nurtures future leaders, and opens its doors to share those strategies with thousands of other educators;

  • Activist, commentator, and Dream Corps founder Van Jones, for promoting human rights and police accountability and helping young people fill jobs, not jails;

  • Singer, songwriter, rapper and producer Akon, whose Akon Lighting Africa project is using small-scale solar energy systems and street lights to bring transformational change to communities in Africa whose development has been harmed by lack of electricity; and

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden, whose lifetime of public service was recognized by President Barack Obama with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“These award recipients exemplify a personal commitment to helping fellow humankind and achieving progress in global communities,” Ambassador Young said.

Anthony Anderson, star of ABC’s “Black-ish,” will host the gala evening, which will include tributeperformances from Usher, Jill Scott, Wyclef Jean, Estelle, gospel artist Anthony Brown and more. The event will be streamed on Facebook Live to an international audience and filmed for television broadcast at a later date.

The event is sponsored by Delta Airlines, Forbes Africa, Cox Enterprises, The Coca-Cola Company, and V-103 FM Atlanta.

The event is open to the public. Tickets are available at and

All proceeds from the event will benefit the Foundation’s current programs to preserve civil and human rights and help support and sustain future initiatives.

For additional information and updates, please visit Follow us @AJYLead on Twitter, @AJYLead Instagram or Join the conversation using #AJYLead.

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