The Andrew J. Young Foundation has announced former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and popular singer, songwriter, rapper and producer Akon, as recipients of the 2017 International Leadership Awards.
The Foundation, in a statement listed other recipients of the Awards as civil rights icon Van Jones and Women’s March Organisers as part of the 85th birthday celebration of its founder and Chair, Amb. Andrew Young.
The awards are in recognition of exceptional individuals whose activism, philanthropy and leadership are transforming lives throughout the global community, the Foundation said.
According to Young, a former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, “These award recipients exemplify a personal commitment to helping fellow humankind and achieving progress in global communities.
“Changing the world happens one step at a time, through acts of leadership and courage.
“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 foundation said the chairman’s Award would be presented to Biden “whose lifetime of public service was recognized by President Barack Obama with the Presidential Medal of Freedom”.
“The honour is given to an individual whose lifelong leadership has demonstrated excellence in areas that reflect Ambassador Young’s life’s work as Pastor, activist, UN Ambassador and Congressman and Mayor of Atlanta.”
The foundation quoted Biden as describing the award as one of the best he had received.
“I value an award based upon the organization giving the award. This is one of the most consequential awards I’ve ever been given,” Biden said.
Akon’s award was in recognition of the Singer’s Akon Lighting Africa project, which 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.
Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, and Bob Bland, National Co-Chairs of the Women’s March on Washington, will jointly receive the award “for inspiring and organizing a worldwide outpouring of positive civic engagement”.
Ron Clark would 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, an activist, commentator, and Dream Corps founder, is being hououred “for promoting human rights and police accountability and helping young people fill jobs, not jails”.
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 event would include tribute performances from Usher, Jill Scott, Wyclef Jean, Estelle, gospel artist Anthony Brown and more.
The awards will be presented at the Foundation’s gala event on June 3, 2017, at the Philips Arena in Atlanta.
The Foundation said its current programmes are to preserve civil and human rights and help support and sustain future initiatives.