The Visionary Leadership Award honors a leader whose trailblazing work is impacting the world. Occurring outside of the annual Festival, the award connects the Festival’s Ideas programs to every day impacts on the community and the world, and was created in honor of the late Jean M. Handley’s leadership as a Founding Director of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas.
We are thrilled to honor Charlayne Hunter-Gault, an award-winning journalist whose life and work has brought light to a number of important issues in civil rights, social justice, public health, and education.
Ms. Hunter-Gault's personal life story forms the backdrop for the important work that she has accomplished professionally: in 1961, she experienced the civil rights movement first hand as one of the first black students to be admitted to the University of Georgia, in 1961. Her attorney during the case was Constance Baker Motley, a New Haven native who would later become the first black female to serve as a federal judge.