Musician Akon and former US vice-president Joe Biden have been announced recipients of this year’s Andrew J. Young International Leadership Awards.
The announcement was made by Andrew J. Young Foundation today.
Akon, singer, songwriter, rapper and music producer, is being honoured for his Akon Lighting Africa project, which uses small-scale solar energy systems and street lights to bring transformational change to communities, whose development has been hampered by lack of electricity.
Biden whose lifetime of public service was recognised by President Barack Obama with the Presidential Medal of Freedom few months ago, will receive the Foundation Chairman’s award at the ceremony billed for 3 June at the Philips Arena in Atlanta.
The Chairman’s honour 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 organisation giving the award,” Biden said. “This is one of the most consequential awards I’ve ever been given.”
Other 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 will be honoured 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;
Van Jones, activist, commentator, and Dream Corps founder will be another recipient of the Young Award, for promoting human rights and police accountability and helping young people fill jobs, not jails
The awards recognise 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 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.
Anthony Anderson, star of ABC’s “Black-ish,” will host the gala evening, which will include tribute performances 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.