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Andrea Young to join GSU’s School of Policy Studies as ‘scholar’

Andrea Young with her husband, Jerry Thomas (Photo by Maria Saporta)

By Maria Saporta

Andrea Young is joining Georgia State University as a “scholar in residence” at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.

Andrea Young has been executive director at the Andrew J. Young Foundation working to preserve and leverage the legacy of her father – a former mayor of Atlanta who also was a Civil Rights leader, a U.S. Congressman and the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

Andrea Young will begin her post at GSU on April 1 when she will work to complete Andrew Young’s book, a documentary film and an archival project about the city’s history of policy choices that constitute the “Atlanta Way.”

Andrea Young

Andrea Young

The multiple projects document the history of Atlanta from the administration of Mayor William Hartsfield to its hosting of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games.

An attorney and adjunct professor at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Andrea Young has been heading the Young Foundation for more than six years.

Now she will write and edit the “Andrew Young and the Making of Modern Atlanta.” Her co-author, in addition to Ambassador Young, is Harvey Newman, a professor of public management and policy with whom she teaches the popular Policy Leadership course. Mercer University Press will publish the book.

“For the past eight years, the Foundation has been a labor of love,” Andrea Young wrote in an email.  “I volunteered for the first two years developing programs, and laying the framework for an office and staff.”

Describing “The Making of Modern Atlanta” as her brainchild, Andrea Young said it has been an important initiative of the Foundation. The documentary is scheduled to first air statewide on April 21 at 8 p.m. on Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Andrea Young with her husband, Jerry Thomas (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Andrea Young with her husband, Jerry Thomas (Photo by Maria Saporta)

“It is crunch time with the book– and to produce a great book that is of high academic quality, it became clear that my full engagement was necessary,” Andrea Young wrote. “So this is a kind of sabbatical to ensure this project is the best that it can be. We are still working on my future relationship to the Foundation.”

Mary Beth Walker, dean of the Andrew Young School, said Andrea Young has been a strong supporter of the college, its students and its programs.

“As an advisory board member, she adds an important perspective to our work,” Walker said in a statement. “And she inspires our students in the classroom and at our graduate orientations and other public leadership programs. It is a bonus to have her join us on campus, if only briefly, to focus on her collaboration with Ambassador Young and Dr. Newman.”

Andrew Young

Andrew Young (Photo by Maria Saporta)

She also has received the Hosea Williams Community Service Award from Georgia State University.

“There is no better environment than the school for working on this book,” said Andrea Young.  “Our first-rate professors, students and research facilities have been an integral part of this project, and I am excited about the opportunity to write with the support of those resources.”

In addition to its first airing on April 21, the documentary will have repeated airings on April 26 at 4 p.m. and on April 27 at 11 a.m.

Like the book, it will present insights into the unique way in which the city’s leaders in government, business and nonprofits have worked across racial lines in public-private partnerships to build the city the way it is known today.

Andrea Young conceived “the Making of Modern Atlanta” project following a Leadership Atlanta presentation by her father. She developed the concept paper, wrote funding proposals and directed it from its inception: conducting interviews, organizing national panels to test its concepts, producing the film and obtaining a publisher.

Andrew Young

Andrew Young at Mt. Vernon Church before it was torn down (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Throughout her career, Andrea Young has devoted her career to promoting policies to defend and extend civil and human rights as a legislative assistant to Sen. Edward Kennedy, with the United Church of Christ in global mission and advocacy, and as chief of staff for the first woman to represent Georgia in Congress – Cynthia McKinney.

Andrea Young also served in executive positions for Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, the National Black Child Development Institute and the Southern Education Foundation. She also has been a scholar in residence in Leadership Studies at Morehouse College. She holds degrees from the Georgetown University Law Center and Swarthmore College.

She is the author of “Life Lessons My Mother Taught Me” and assisted Andrew Young in writing his memoir of the civil rights movement, “An Easy Burden: Civil Rights and the Transformation of America.”

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.


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