Emory President Claire E. Sterk discusses lessons from the Civil Rights Movement with Ambassador Andrew Young

A blurred image of Emory President Claire E. Sterk with President Carter

“Conversations with Claire” features Emory President Claire E. Sterk interviewing some of today’s most inspirational leaders, who have left indelible impressions on the university and the world.

Episode 3: Ambassador Andrew Young

As we mark the 56th anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, President Sterk sits down with civil rights icon and humanitarian Andrew Young, who worked side by side with King and went on to serve in the U.S. Congress, as ambassador to the United Nations and as mayor of Atlanta.

In the decades since Young helped change the course of history as a leader in the civil rights movement, he has built a legacy as a civic activist, elected official, 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. 

Young was a key strategist and negotiator during campaigns that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 1972, he was elected to represent Georgia in the U.S. Congress, becoming the first African-American representative from the Deep South since Reconstruction. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Young to serve as United States Ambassador to the United Nations, the first African-American to serve in that role.

Young was also instrumental in the building of modern Atlanta. He was elected mayor in 1981 and re-elected in 1985 with nearly 85 percent of the vote, championed the development of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and led the successful effort to bring the 1996 Olympic Games to Atlanta.

He is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the French Legion d’Honneur and has received honorary degrees from more than 100 colleges and universities, including an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Emory in 1991. He received Emory's President's Medal in May 2019, when he gave the keynote address at the university's 174th Commencement.

Watch President Sterk's conversation with Ambassador Young to find out what Young thinks he and King would be doing together if King were still here today.

Episode 2: Dr. Anthony Fauci

In June, President Sterk sat down with Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has served as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health since 1984, advising five presidents on HIV/AIDS and many other domestic and global health issues.

A principal architect of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a program that has saved millions of lives throughout the developing world, Fauci's honors include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Science, and the Lasker Award for Public Service.

Despite tremendous scientific progress, public interest in HIV has waned since the 1990s, and unchecked complacency could lead to a surge in infections, Fauci told Sterk in an interview filmed on location in Colorado at Aspen Ideas: Health, where the two spoke on a panel exploring whether it is possible to end the HIV epidemic in five years.

After the panel, Sterk and Fauci continued the discussion in "Conversations with Claire." Watch as Fauci reflects on the "extraordinary journey of science" from the earliest days of the HIV crisis, when physicians were "swimming in the dark" trying to care for desperately ill patients, to the "implementation challenges" that continue to hamper efforts to end the epidemic.

Episode 1: President Jimmy Carter

The inaugural episode of "Conversations with Claire" featured a wide-ranging conversation with President Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, human rights advocate, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Emory University Distinguished Professor.

Carter’s relationship with Emory spans almost four decades. He launched The Carter Center in September 1982 from an office in Emory’s Woodruff Library, and the two institutions continue to work in close partnership.

Generations of Emory students have fond memories of the annual Carter Town Hall, a beloved campus tradition where the former president takes questions from first-year students, and his many visits to Emory classes across a wide range of subjects.

After almost four decades as an Emory professor, Carter was officially granted tenure in June 2019.

You can also watch highlights of the interview.

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