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ATLANTA — Former Atlanta mayor and U.N. Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young celebrated his 83rd birthday at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta on Sunday and he invited several hundred friends including a phalanx of celebrities, dignitaries, business leaders and members of his inner circle.

“I don’t think I’m going to blow out any candles,” Young said before the event that benefits the Andrew J. Young Foundation. “I’ve got a few more things on my bucket list. Enough to keep me going another 20 years.”

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The elegant and exclusive soiree doubled up as the Andrew J. Young International Leadership Awards that bestowed homage to Selma director Ava Duvernay, Shepherd Center co-founder Alana Shepherd, philanthropist and businessman Strive Masiyiwa, attorney Lucien Ebata and Warner Williams, retired vice president of production for the Chevron Corp.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said he received something that was greater than an award when he was an ambitious student in Washington, D.C.

“It’s been 25 years since I saw you in the boardroom of Howard University,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. “You were kind enough to take an interest in me when few people did.”

“We see how many people from all over Atlanta and all over the country care about you. God bless you, Ambassador,” Reed added.

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Young’s wife, Carolyn, succinctly summarized the sentiments in the vast ballroom when she heaped praise upon her husband.

“Most of you don’t know how busy Andy is and how hard he works,” she said. “He acts like it’s 1965 and he’s 33. He’s not 33. He’s 83, but Andy wakes up every morning with an agenda. He doesn’t have any money. He doesn’t want any money, He doesn’t even like asking for money for the foundation. That’s why all of you get calls from me!”

She also mentioned that, much like what her husband articulated after he was nearly killed when a cement mixing truck toppled over and smashed Young’s car, but only received minor injuries, it was not his time to go yet.

“Thanks to everyone for your prayers and your outpouring of support,” Carolyn Young said. “We received a lot of phone calls and read all the comments on social media. That close call gave us a moment to pause.”

 

Photos: Ava DuVernay Instagram

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