Voices Against Indifference Initiative

The Jeffrey Sachs Project: Environment, Poverty and Healthcare on a Global Scale

September 2002 – April  2003

Press Release 10.4.02

For Immediate Release 

For more information:
Kathy Rowan 704.541.7529 or
Adam Bernstein 704.374.9300


HARVEY GANTT TO RECEIVE ECHO AWARD AGAINST INDIFFERENCE; Earth Institute Director Jeffrey Sachs is Keynote Speaker at Award Dinner February 26


October 4, 2002 (Charlotte, NC) – The Echo Foundation announces that former Charlotte mayor and longtime community leader Harvey Gantt will receive the 2003 “Echo Award Against Indifference” at the Foundation’s annual dinner, February 26, 2003 at Bank of America, Founders Hall, 100 N. Tryon Street.  Tickets are on sale now for the event, which also features keynote speaker Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Columbia University Earth Institute and special advisor to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

The Echo Foundation is sponsoring Sachs’ visit for its Voices Against Indifference Initiative, a yearly program that brings speakers to Charlotte whose personal experience illuminates how one person can make a positive difference for humanity through words, action and moral courage. Sachs, a participant and featured speaker at the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg , South Africa , has long been engaged in challenging global action on such issues as rising poverty, the escalating HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa and environmental concerns.

The key educational component of the Voices Against Indifference Initiative is a dialogue at Myers Park High School with Sachs and some 850 public, private and home-schooled students.  Teachers and students from Myers Park began working with The Echo Foundation volunteers in April to produce curriculum materials, teacher/students workshops and other interactive programs in preparation for the Student Dialogue.  Additional educational and community events are in the final planning stages and will be announced in the coming months.

The Echo Foundation was founded in 1997 to carry on the message that Nobel Peace Prize Winner Elie Wiesel brought to Charlotte that year – a call to action for human dignity, justice and moral courage.

For more information or to purchase tickets ($150 individual, $1,500 table sponsor, $3,000 patron table sponsor) for the Echo Award Dinner, call 704.347.3844.

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NOTE TO EDITORS: Following pages include more detailed information about Gantt, Sachs, and The Echo Foundation.  Photos are available through The Echo Foundation at 704.347.3844.

About Harvey Gantt

 Harvey Gantt is the co-founder of Gantt Huberman Architects, an award-winning architectural firm established in Charlotte in 1971.  A frequent speaker in national architectural circles, he encourages fellow architects to take an activist role in shaping public policy to counter our country’s growing urban problems.  He served as chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission, appointed by President Bill Clinton, from 1995-2000.

Gantt has been an activist in the political arena since 1974.  After serving more than three terms on the Charlotte City Council in the late 1970s, he became Mayor Pro-Tem in 1981. Gantt was elected Charlotte ’s first African-American Mayor in 1983, and served two successive terms during a time period of unprecedented growth and development.  Planning, revitalization of the inner city, housing and managed growth were areas of emphasis during his administration.

In 1990 and 1996, Gantt ran for national office, challenging Jesse Helms in the North Carolina U.S. Senate race. While unsuccessful in winning the senate seat, he achieved national acclaim for his positions on education, healthcare, the environment, and his vision for improving the quality of life for all citizens.

Gantt’s involvement in the Charlotte community has included leadership roles in many civic and cultural organizations.  He currently serves on the boards of Crisis Assistance Ministry, the Foundation for the Carolinas , Central Piedmont College Foundation, and Center City Partners.  He is active in his church, Friendship Missionary Baptist, where he is a member of the choir.

Gantt’s community activism and commitment to social justice have earned him numerous honors and awards from such organizations as: the NAACP, the Chamber of Commerce, The National Conference for Community & Justice, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Born in Charleston , South Carolina , Gantt attended public schools and graduated second in his class from Burke High School .  He attended Iowa State University on a merit scholarship from 1960-62.  In 1961 he applied to Clemson University , and was admitted in January 1963 under court order.  Gantt became the first black student to attend the previously all-white school.  He graduated from Clemson with honors and a Bachelor of Architecture Degree in 1965.  He holds honorary degrees from eight colleges and universities. Harvey Gantt is married to the former Lucinda Brawley. They have four adult children.


About Jeffrey Sachs

Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute and Professor of Sustainable Development at Columbia University and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research.  He was formerly Director of the Center for International Development (CID) and Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) and Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade at Harvard University .  He serves as an economic advisor to governments in Latin America , Eastern Europe , the former Soviet Union , Asia and Africa , as well as to the United Nations. Sachs was cited in The New York Times Magazine as “probably the most important economist in the world.”  He has been a consultant to the IMF, the World Bank, the OECD, and the United Nations Development Program.

Sachs’ research interests include the links of health and development, economic geography, globalization, transition to market economies in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union , international financial markets, international macroeconomics policy coordination, emerging markets, economic development and growth, global competitiveness, and macroeconomic policies in developing and developed countries. He is currently directing a major research program on global health and economic development as Chairman of the WHO Commission on Macroeconomics and Health.

Sachs is the recipient of many awards and honors, including membership in the American Academy of Art and Sciences, Harvard Society of Fellows, the Fellows of the World Econometric Society, the Brookings Panel of Economists, and the Board of Advisors of the Chinese Economists Society and several other organizations. His awards include the Frank  E. Seidman Award in Political Economy (1991), the Bernhard Harms Prize (2000 in Kiel, Germany), and the Distinguished Public Service Award of the Secretary of State’s Open Forum (2002).

Sachs has published more than 200 scholarly articles and has authored or edited numerous books, including: “Macroeconomics in the Global Economy” (co-authored with Felipe Larrain) “ Poland ’s Jump to the Market Economy” and “Economics of Worldwide Stagflation” (co-authored with Michael Bruno). His syndicated newspaper column appears in more than 50 countries around the world.

Sachs was born in Detroit , Michigan in 1954. He received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Harvard College in 1976, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1978 and 1980.

 The Echo Foundation

The Echo Award Against Indifference was established in February 2000 to honor a member of the Mecklenburg County community who works “with an eye towards peace, a heart filled with compassion and a voice against indifference, in order to remind our community of its highest ideals.” Previous recipients include: Joe Martin, retired Bank of America executive who used his community leadership platform to encourage racial unity; Bishop George E. Battle, Jr. who has a long-standing commitment to disadvantaged youth; and Sister Mary Thomas Burke, a UNC-Charlotte Counseling Department Chairperson who helped establish and inspire community groups that serve people whose lives are threatened by abuse, poverty, drug addiction and AIDS.

Some recent Echo Foundation Voices Against Indifference Initiatives guest speakers include: Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, Human Rights Advocate Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, and Chinese Dissident Harry Wu.