Season's greetings from the NMF! Looking back on the past year, we have a lot to be thankful for and to be proud of here at the National Monuments Foundation. We have had another busy year and are poised to make big strides in our work in global peace stemming from Atlanta. Here are just a few highlights from the past year as well as some exciting things coming up in the beginning of 2023!
The only way we are able to accomplish our mission is through support from donors like you! Please consider making an end of year donation today to support the National Monuments Foundation and Millennium Gate Museum!
The National Monuments Foundation was proud to partner with the Andrew Young Foundation for the celebration of Ambassador Young's 90th birthday. Andy wanted his landmark birthday to have a theme of Peace and Reconciliation. It was his wish that everyone would take a least 90 minutes for prayer and to reconcile with someone with whom they have had differences in the past. To spread this message as far as possible, we organized a 4 day celebration which was covered by media from around the world. Notably, Cox Communications told us their coverage was seen by 750,000,000 people worldwide.
The celebration began on March 9th with a global prayer for peace and reconciliation. Ambassador Young led the interdenominational sermon from his First Congregational Church, and it was broadcast live around the world.
On March 10th, Ambassador Young led a Walk for Peace and Reconciliation beginning in Centennial Olympic Park, traveling down Andrew Young International Boulevard and up Northside Drive to end in Rodney Cook, Sr. Peace Park. We were joined by thousands including Georgia Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan, Metropolitan Jonah of the Russian Orthodox Church in Washington, Archbishop Foley Beech, Reverend Bernice King, Academy Award winning actor Lou Gossett, Jr., Venezuelan Freedom Fighter Leopoldo Lopez, and many more who wished to spread Andy's message. Many from the Ukrainian and Russian communities in Atlanta walked together with us, and local press in those countries covered this unusual event.
The walk was followed by a peace luncheon in the Bank of America lobby at Georgia State's Robinson College of Business, across from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. The luncheon was hosted by Sir Richard Branson's Necker Island Forming Impact Group.
March 11th marked the grand opening of the new exhibition at the Millennium Gate Museum, The Many Lives of Andrew Young. The grand opening complemented the 2022 Millennium Candler Peace and Justice Prize Awards Ceremony. Andy was the first Millennium Candler Peace Prize winner, and many of this year's winners were friends and/or colleagues of Ambassador Young, who handed out the prizes to Dr. Shin Dae-yong, Joe Lonsdale, Dan Cathy, and Clark Durant.
Ambassador Young's 90th birthday on March 12th was celebrated by thousands at a black tie event at the Georgia World Congress Center. The city turned out in great numbers to celebrate this Son of the South.
The Notre-Dame de Paris Truss Project exhibition in collaboration with Handshouse Studios at the Millennium Gate Museum ended with a gorgeous sunny day of demonstrations and presentations in Atlanta, GA. The Full-scale reconstruction of Notre Dame’s choir truss #6 stood on the Western terrace of Millennium Gate enjoying its last moments amongst the Atlanta community.
The 1/10 scale model of the Notre Dame choir apse built by “La Foret Model Project” students from The North Bennet Street School, Gordon College, and MIT Architecture stood under the Millennium Gate arch giving a smaller scale sense of the complex structure that this single full-scale truss would have been a part of in the roof structure of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.
Additional models that contextualize these elements of Notre Dame cathedral in structural and architectural history were on display in the 5th floor gallery of the museum attended by Catholic University Architecture students who participated in making them. In a 2021 summer course taught at The Catholic University of America by Tonya Ohnstad, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, School of Architecture and Planning, with the support of Architecture faculty Lorenzo Dealmeida was the first of the “La Foret Model Project” and focused on the architecture of Notre-Dame de Paris. A team of Catholic University participants including Lorenzo DeAlmeida, Juan Soto, ( and Juan Soto Sr. who joined his son for the trip), Abigail Sekely, and Kelsey Riordan came to Atlanta to help represent the project.
Meanwhile, on the Western lawn, traditional timber framing skills were being demonstrated by timber framers Mez Welch and Ross Beebe of Rockbridge Timber Frames. They worked with participants teaching how to convert logs into a timbers using only axes, plum-bobs, and string; techniques that would have been used by the medieval carpenters that originally constructed Notre-Dame. Amelia Andrews of University of Georgia Historic Preservation Masters Program, and Marty Epp-Carty and Waylon Bigsby, and their team of their students from the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities came to participate in this hands-on workshop and raising.
In July, a series of meetings were held at the Carter Center and the Millennium Gate in Atlanta to convene members of The Elders, the Carter Presidential Center (President Carter being an Elder), the Andrew Young Foundation, the Shin Dae-yong Global Peace Institute, and the National Monuments Foundation. The goal of the meetings was to determine a way to persuade the Russian government to allow exports of grain from the Ukrainian port of Odesa in order to prevent famine that would starve over 50 million people in Africa and beyond. Initial talks between the Kremlin and 9th United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Erdogan in Istanbul had stalled, and we convened our delegation headed by 8th United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young as a back-up effort. Our unique direct links to the Russian Orthodox Church were proving helpful as the Turkish effort was resuscitated and Ukraine began exporting grain.
Crowds gathered at the Prince of Wales's World Athletes Monument in Atlanta early morning on Monday September 19th to watch the live broadcast of the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The service began at 6:00 AM EST, and supporters arrived beginning at 5:00, well before daybreak. Mourners had been laying flowers and mementos at the base of the statue all week, and many brought more on Monday morning as they gathered to pay tribute to the queen.
The World Athletes Monument is the only building erected directly by King Charles III outside of Great Britain. His Majesty the King was integrally involved in its design. It was gifted by his Prince of Wales’s Foundation for Architecture to the City of Atlanta and the people of Georgia to commemorate the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. The National Monuments Foundation, Midtown Alliance, and Fulton County are joint custodians of the monument.