AT&T 28 Days - Ambassador Andrew Young
Chair, Andrew J. Young Foundation
In his 83 years, Andrew Young has worn many titles: minister, U.S. Congressman, Mayor of Atlanta, United Nations Ambassador, philanthropist, advisor and historian. He was a confidant to Martin Luther King, Jr. and helped bring the 1996 Olympics to Atlanta. The foundation he founded in 2003 promotes education, health, leadership and human rights in the United States, Africa and the Caribbean. In short, he is a man whose influence and connections have left an undeniable positive mark on American history.
Q: Which tech tools help you accomplish your professional and personal goals?
A: It was 1984 when I first made my first cell phone call. It was in Finland, and I was in the middle of a lake. They asked me if I wanted to call home. I said, "Yeah, when we get back, I need to call home." They said, "Oh, you can call home right now." They had one of these Nokia, one of these little bricks that I dialed home on and got my wife. That's just a very short time ago. Now I find myself almost totally dependent on an office in my pocket. When I was mayor [of Atlanta] we had two stories of City Hall dedicated to big hardware machines. I probably have as much power and memory and more facility in this one little cell phone in my breast pocket than both of those stories, two floors of computers.
Q: The first step to being a part of the solution is …
A: Listening to the problem, understanding the problem and appreciating other people's points of view about the problem. A problem, by its very nature, is a conflict, people disagreeing or nations disagreeing. The solution is always finding a common ground that respects the other person's analysis and understanding what their point of view is and what's essential about their point of view. There are two illustrations I use all the time. One: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John talk about Jesus differently but we understand Jesus better by getting all four perspectives. The other way to look at it is there's an accident on the corner and there are four people on four different corners. Each one sees the accident from a different perspective. If you really want to know what happened you have to understand what the other people saw. I think that's true of almost every problem. Everybody has a different perspective on it. Politics, economics, family, all grow out of working towards a common perspective that respects everybody's opinions and gives everybody the freedom and the right to be what God wants them to be.
Q: Whom do you turn to for counsel?
A: What I've found is that God works in mysterious ways, has wonders to perform. The answers can come to me from almost anywhere. I can bump into somebody in the grocery store that will say a word to me that will be, in a strange way, an answer to something that's bothering me.
Q: What does self-care look like in your life?
A: I never smoked. I never drank. I tried to eat right and I think that's one of the reasons why I still have the energy and imagination that I still have. You cannot drive your automobile if you don't change the oil once in a while nor can your body function if it doesn't get the basic nutrients that it needs to develop.
Q: What is your personal manifesto?
A: Right now it's the question Jesus is going to ask you at the Judgment: "Did you feed the hungry? Did you clothe the naked? Did you heal the sick? Did you set at liberty those who are oppressed?" The answer is: "In as much as you've done it under one of the least of these my brethren, you've done it under me." My one concern is: "What can I do better? What can I do with the years I have left to make life better for the less fortunate and people who have not shared the blessings that I take for granted".