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11 May 2017

Akon, Van Jones and Joe Biden to be Honored by Andrew Young at June 3rd Atlanta Awards Show

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 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."

Former Vice President Joe Biden will receive the Young Foundation's highest award, honoring his lifetime of public service.

Other award recipients include:

  • 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; and
  • 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.
Anthony Anderson, star of ABC's "Black-ish," will host the gala evening, which will include tribute performances from Usher, Jill Scott and Wyclef Jean.

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.