CIEE Names Civic Leadership Summit to Honor Ambassador Johnny and Mrs. Angie Young

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The Board of Directors of the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) has unanimously voted to name CIEE’s annual summit for international changemakers the Ambassador Johnny and Mrs. Angie Young Civic Leadership Summit in recognition of the couple’s lifelong dedication to public service, public diplomacy, and building bridges between peoples and nations.

Each summer, CIEE hosts a summit in Washington, D.C. for 50 outstanding young leaders, selected from the more than 20,000 exchange visitors from dozens of different countries who are visiting the United States as part of the Department of State’s BridgeUSA program. The summit participants, now called Young Fellows, come together to learn about leadership, social entrepreneurship, and cultural understanding. They attend workshops on techniques to advance social justice, the importance of the rule of law, American values and ways of life, and methods for working across national and cultural barriers to overcome challenges to peace in our world.   

When these bright and motivated young people return to their home countries, they bring with them new ideas, skills, and connections that will help them to create impactful change in their communities and the world. In the last seven years, 365 young people from 65 countries have attended this leadership summit and at least five social ventures attribute their genesis to the program.

Ambassador Young traces his career in public service back to a similar program. As a young man growing up in inner-Philadelphia, the YMCA and YWCA sponsored him to attend an international exchange program at American University in Beirut. This became his inspiration for pursuing a career in public diplomacy.

During his nearly 40-year career in the Foreign Service, in which he achieved the rank of career ambassador in the Senior Foreign Service, among other roles, Ambassador Young served as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Slovenia, the State of Bahrain, the Republic of Togo, and the Republic of Sierra Leone. After retiring from the Department of State, Ambassador Young continued his commitment to service, serving as executive director of Migration and Refugee Services of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In retirement, he sits on the board of several non-profits, including CIEE.  Learn more about Ambassador Young's life and career in this oral history collected by the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training.

Angie Young was an equal partner in Johnny's successful diplomatic career, a cornerstone of the Young's personal and professional accomplishments for nearly six decades.  With unmatched charm and grace, Angie hosted thousands of dinners, lunches, and events that planted seeds of mutual trust and respect in dozens of countries around the world, including in America, where she concluded her career as protocol officer at the White House.

“The Ambassador Johnny and Mrs. Angie Young Civic Leadership Summit was established in 2013 to demonstrate that one person can make a difference and that together we can change the world in material ways,” said James P. Pellow, president and CEO of CIEE. “The Youngs are extraordinary role models for aspiring young leaders around the world, encouraging the next generation to lead by personal example and overcome whatever barriers might stand in the way of creating a more peaceful, united world.”


Media contact:
Leslie Taylor,, (207)553-4274

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