“Live the impossible dream. It always seems impossible until it’s done. Embrace your challenges as those challenges groom you for leadership . You acquired all the key ingredients, at this University, to become an efficient and inspirational change maker – an innovative leader who can forge a future for humanity. Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible, and soon you will be doing the impossible.” - Andrew Jackson Young Jr. From pastor to politics Andrew Jackson Young Jr. was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on 12 March 1932 and is best known as an American politician, diplomat and activist. He began his career as a pastor and
An honorary doctoral degree On Wednesday 20 March 2019 Andrew Jackson Young Jr accepted an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Johannesburg (UJ). “With this honorary doctorate, we pay tribute to an icon in his own right, a legend who has inspired the global struggle for justice”, said Professor Alex Broadbent, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at UJ. “Indeed, as a visionary individual, Ambassador Young helped change the course of history and built a remarkable legacy as a civic activist, elected official, ground-breaking ambassador, social entrepreneur, and adviser to presidents. Today, he leads the Andrew J. Young Foundation’s efforts to develop and support new generations of visionary leaders who will create sustainable global approaches to economic development, poverty alleviation, and the challenge of hunger.” A keen interest in Africa While serving as Ambassador to the United Nations, Young
since his term as Ambassador. In 1996, he co-founded Good Works International, which promotes sustainable economic development in Africa and the Caribbean. During a visit to South Africa in 2016, then Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, praised Young for his work in fighting injustice. Radebe stated: “Young is an icon in his own right, a colossus and a legend who inspired the struggle for justice – he was indeed a staunch anti-apartheid campaigner and took a hard- line attitude towards former US President Ronald Reagan’s constructive engagement policies. He always fought for the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners.” A university that promotes Africanism Prof Broadbent highlighted that Young, throughout his career, demonstrated distinguished social and political achievement related to the University’s vision, mission, values and strategic goals. “The honorary doctorate also represents South Africa’s gesture of gratitude to all African Americans who helped to destroy apartheid and rekindle their long overdue collaboration with the African American community. The University, in particular, the Faculty of Humanities, is greatly honoured to confer the degree of Philosophiae Doctor Honoris causa upon him.” Young was the first recipient of an honorary doctorate conferred by the University during this year’s Autumn graduation season. “This honour bestowed on me today binds me to this institution that shares my passion”, Young concluded. “I have respect for the University and its endeavours to promote Africanism.”
developed a keen interest in US foreign policy, especially concerning Africa, Asia and Latin America. One of his earliest bills called for barring US government contracts to companies that practised racial discrimination in South Africa. Young also made congressional visits to South Africa in 1972 and to Zambia, Kenya and Nigeria in 1975.
later joined the United States Civil Rights Movement where he became one of its leaders. Young later became active in politics, serving first as a US Congressman from Georgia, then United States Ambassador to the United Nations, and finally Mayor of Atlanta. Since leaving political office, Young has founded or served in many organisations working on issues of public policy and political lobbying.
His involvement with Africa has continued in the years
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