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The Hilltop

Alumni Spotlight

Ambassador Andrew Young Kicks Off Ralph Bunche Center Speaker Series

By Dawchelle Hamilton, Special To The Hilltop
Posted 7:26 AM EST, Fri, Sept. 23, 2016

Howard students and faculty had the opportunity to interact with living history through the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center’s “Evening with Andrew Young,” on Tuesday, Sept. 6. The event, the first in a series of talks as part of the Bunche Center’s “150 Years of Howard University in the World,” was hosted by the Bunche Center in conjunction, with the political science department, as well as The Hilltop.

The event consisted of a series of questions for the former Ambassador and Howard alumnus Andrew Young along with a subsequent question-and-answer session. Tonija Navas, the Ralph Bunche Center’s deputy director, said she had been planning the event in collaboration with the political science department since the beginning of the year.

“I wanted to take advantage of [the time] leading up to the sesquicentennial [anniversary of Howard University] to highlight all of the ways in which Howard faculty, staff, students and alumni have impacted or influenced the world,” said Navas. “It was full, it was rich, it was exactly how I envisioned it.”

Guests included athletes from Howard’s swim team (that the ambassador was once part of), members of the political science department and a Civil Rights photo essayist who had been waiting 25 years for his chance to interact with the ambassador once more. All listened as the ambassador charismatically recollected his life from his upbringing in New Orleans to his highly decorated career and, more importantly, his thoughts on how all of these influenced his life.

“As a matter of my experience coming from Howard having heard about Nigeria from Nigerians, I’m not going to believe what the Europeans are saying about Nigeria,” Young cited when discussing his approach to foreign affairs.

Silas Woods, III, a political science major and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Beta Chapter, noted the ambassador’s straightforwardness in the way he spoke.

“It wasn’t a standard cliche, he gave us what he thought, what he believed,” said Woods.

Woods attended the event due to his interest in foreign policy and to welcome the ambassador who is also a member of the same chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He found great value in seeing an alum who has walked a path similar to the one Woods plans to take.

According to Maya King, campus editor of The Hilltop, such interactions with alumni “reaffirmed the values of her school.”

Coincidentally, as the Ralph Bunche Center hosts “150 Years of Howard University in the World” it will also run into it’s own 20th anniversary since the center’s opening. Both anniversaries are a reminder of Howard University’s influence on students, the Howard community and the world.

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