Past Ali Awards Information
2018 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards Recipients
2017 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards Recipients
2016 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards Recipients
2015 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards Recipients
2014 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards Recipients
2013 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards Recipients
2019 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards Recipients
MICHAEL LANG, MUHAMMAD ALI HUMANITARIAN AWARD FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Michael Lang A music industry icon and entrepreneur, Michael is best known for co-creating and producing the original 1969 Woodstock Festival. During that time, the country was in the midst of a civil rights movement that included unrest, protest, and the Vietnam War. Woodstock was an opportunity for people to escape into music and spread a message of unity and peace. Woodstock empowered young people to speak out against injustices. Michael is a founding partner in Woodstock Ventures. He has managed and produced albums for dozens of top musical acts, including Billy Joel and Joe Cocker, and is the founder and CEO of Just Sunshine Records and MLO, a live event and film production company. He produced New York’s AmsterJam, Woodstock 1994 and 1999 and dozens of events around the world. Michael’s 2010 biography, The Road to Woodstock was a New York Times Bestseller. Current projects include the development of a Broadway Musical based on Woodstock 69 with Woodstock Ventures, Production of a Major Motion Picture based on the Novel The Master And Margarita, and Supporting Organizations like Headcount in efforts to register voters and others in the fight against Climate Change.
A resident of Woodstock for over 40 years, Michael remains one of the most respected and prominent figures in the Hudson Valley with a passion for keeping the arts in the area while supporting the development of local businesses and local artistic initiatives. Michael sits on the board of The Woodstock Film Festival, Farmhearts, and The Felix Organization for Adoptees.
MICHAEL J. FOX, MUHAMMAD ALI HUMANITARIAN AWARD FOR COURAGE
Born in Canada, Michael J. Fox is an award-winning television and film actor whose enduring career as a performer has made him an icon to countless fans around the globe. In 1991, at age 29, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, news he shared with the public in 1998. In 2000, to help advance scientific progress toward a cure for Parkinson’s, he established The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
Today Michael is as famous for his advocacy as for his acting. Sitting on the Foundation’s Board of Directors and serving as its inspirational leader, Michael speaks frequently on behalf of the organization described by the New York Times as “the most credible voice on Parkinson’s research in the world.” He is admired for his commitment to raising awareness about Parkinson’s research, his dedication to scientific freedom, and his appreciation of the need for new strategies to accelerate the translation of research discoveries into practical therapies on pharmacy shelves. In 2011, Michael received the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honor, in recognition of his Parkinson’s advocacy.
Fox is the bestselling author of three books — A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future, Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist, and his first memoir, Lucky Man. Fox also remains in demand as an actor. He thrilled audiences with a multi-episode guest arc in the CBS hit drama “The Good Wife,” earning a 2011 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. He also guest-starred in Larry David’s acclaimed HBO comedy “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” In September 2009 he received his fifth Emmy award for his portrayal of Dwight, an embittered, drug-addicted paraplegic, in a multi-episode guest arc on the network drama “Rescue Me.”
Fox and his wife, actress Tracy Pollan, have four children.
MARK TEWKSBURY, MUHAMMAD ALI HUMANITARIAN AWARD FOR GENDER EQUALITY
Mark Tewksbury first came to prominence as an Olympic swimming gold medalist, but it’s his remarkable life post-Olympics that has come to truly define him.
The Toronto Star said, “Only the greatest fight for what they believe in, taking on people and institutions and closed minds because the battle is important. Few have done that more often, more successfully, and more importantly than Tewksbury.”
Mark’s sport leadership career began in 1996 on the International Olympic Committee’s Site Selection Commission for the XXVIII Olympic Games. Making front-page news, Mark stepped down from his Olympics posts in February 1999 in response to the ethical crisis facing the IOC. He co-founded OATH, an organization created to hold the IOC accountable to its own ideals. Mark returned to the Olympic Movement in 2017 as a Director of the Canadian Olympic Committee, where he continues to fight for inclusive, fair and principled sport.
Mark has been involved with the global LGBTQ+ movement since coming out over 20 years ago as one of the first openly gay Olympic champions in the world. He was invited by the government of France to be part of history as the first Declaration to decriminalize homosexuality was introduced at the United Nations in 2008. Tewksbury as one of the three pioneers featured at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights 2015 exhibit, recognizing the enormous impact Mark has had with his example.
Since 2009 Mark been on the Board of Directors of Special Olympics Canada. During his term, he has founded the Champions Network, a group of celebrities 50+ strong that use their profile to highlight the sport accomplishments of people with an intellectual disability. Mark’s ongoing fight for justice, fair play and equal rights is what defines him, a unique Olympic icon whose reach goes far beyond sport.
For his athletic achievements, ethical leadership, and contribution to society, Tewksbury has received five honorary degrees, the Queens’s Jubilee Silver Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada.
AMY HEHRE, MUHAMMAD ALI HUMANITARIAN AWARD FOR GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP
Amy Hehre is a US Certified Physician Assistant, Kenyan Clinical Officer, as well as the CEO and Founder at OVI Children’s Hospital—a 24/7 advanced medical facility offering free, life-saving treatment to the critically-ill orphans and abandoned children across Sub-Saharan Africa.
She currently serves full-time in Migori, Kenya with her husband, medical director and co-founder Robert J. Hehre, MPAS, PA-C and their daughter Lily Von Hehre. In addition to her time in Kenya, Amy has traveled to over 40 countries to serve, share, and simply appreciate the diversity of each culture and experience. She is an avid creative visionary and entrepreneur who hopes to make her organization sustainable and readily available to needy children globally.
Before her journey to Kenya, Amy was born and raised in Somerset, Kentucky. She completed her undergraduate studies at the Western Kentucky University Honors College and her medical training at the University of Kentucky with clinical experiences at multiple institutions within Norton Hospital, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and teaching hospitals in both Kenya and Swaziland.
Amy is passionate about pediatric oncology, an avid orphan advocate, and global mentor with a love of helping others achieve their biggest goals. However, her favorite title is “Mommy” and she assumes that role for every child she finds in need of that love.
In only two years of operation, OVI Children’s Hospital has been consistently booked to capacity. The Hehre family plans to expand with a cancer institute, operating room, and additional international campuses.
Above all else, Amy is committed to investing in the lives of the orphaned and destitute. To offer the hope of health, love, and purpose to children who would otherwise have no access to the care they desperately need. When asked how the couple continues their work through all the grief and heartache Amy answered, “We are not afraid to grieve, but we do fear what will happen to these children if no one takes the risk to love them.”
DR. MARK LYNN, MUHAMMAD ALI KENTUCKY HUMANITARIAN AWARD
Mark Lynn was born in Louisville Kentucky in 1959. Growing up in Owensboro, he met his wife, Cindy Erwin at Apollo High school, and they married in 1979.
After high school, he attended Murray State University, majoring in Engineering Physics and Computer Science. He later received his Doctor of Optometry from Southern College of Optometry. He started work at Louisville’s Dr. Bizer’s in 1985 and became a partner in 1991. In 1998 he bought the practice after growing it from 2 locations to 19. He has since grown the practice to 90 offices in six states.
Additionally, he serves as the Chairman of the Kentucky State Fair Board, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Simmons College, a board member of the ProRehab Board of Advisors, Member of the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety as well as the President of his Home Owners Association and a member of the Evolve502 Scholars Foundation Board.
He and his wife strive to give back when possible. They work with groups like the Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Kid Center for Pediatric Therapies, The Lord’s Kitchen, The Hope Gala for the American Cancer Society, The American Diabetes Association, The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Second Stride, 4H, and Future Farmers of America.
Some awards he’s won include Outstanding Young Man of America, Burns Middle School Hall of Fame, 2002 Nominated to Americas Top Optometrist, 2008 Beacon Award Winner, The Daniel Pitino Foundation Philanthropic Award, 2011 Clifford C. Leadingham Award from the Kentucky Optometric Association, 2012 Hickman-Camp Award from The University of Louisville, 2012 Louisville Philanthropist of the Year Award Winner, 2016 Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame award, 2017 Presidents award from the Kentucky Optometric Association and 2017 Davis County Schools Alumni of the Year, and the 2018 Corporate Giving Award for Partners In Philanthropy.
The most important part of his life is his family. He and his wife have been blessed with 4 children and 16 grandchildren.
2019 Muhammad Ali Six Core Principle Award Recipients
Waad al-Kateab, Core Principle Award for Conviction
In January 2016, Waad al-Kateab started documenting the horrors of Aleppo for Channel 4 News in a series of devastating films simply titled Inside Aleppo. The reports she made on the conflict in Syria became the most watched pieces on the UK news program, receiving almost half a billion views online and winning 24 awards – including the 2016 International Emmy for breaking news coverage. A self-taught filmmaker, Waad began documenting the human suffering around her. When she and her family were evacuated in December 2016, she managed to get all her footage out. In the FRONTLINE feature film For Sama, al-Kateab provides an unflinching view of motherhood and war. By zeroing-in on a hospital’s efforts to cope with the sheer number of casualties, al-Kateab sharpens our understanding of the toll the five-year siege took on civilians. The film is a letter to Sama, who was born and raised among conflict. But it is also a way for al-Kateab to highlight what happened to her home. Waad now lives in London with her husband, Hamza, and two daughters.
Laura Ulloa, Core Principle Award for Respect
Born in Cali, Colombia, in 1999, Laura and her family were kidnapped by guerrilla members from the ELN group at a mass along with 200 other churchgoers. Laura and her family were able to escape that day; others remained captive. Two years later, members of the terrorist group FARC-EP hijacked Laura’s school bus and took her as the sole hostage. She was held captive for seven months. Despite the pain endured by Laura and her family, Laura has become an advocate for forgiveness and reconciliation. She is a political scientist with a specialization in Organizations, Social Responsibility and Development. Most recently she worked as a Social Projects Coordinator at the Corona Foundation. Previously Laura worked at the Colombian Agency for Reintegration helping former combatants transition back to society. Laura is self-described survivor rather than a victim. She has been an outspoken peace advocate, arguing that through forgiveness and reconciliation a nation can heal decades-long wounds and bridge the divide between a bloody past and a promising future. She is currently writing a book about her story.
Jared Hiakita, Core Principle Award for Spirituality
Jared hails from a tribe called Ngāi Tūhoe in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Their tribal identity and existence is owed to a place they revere – Te Urewera Forest. Not only has this forest sustained their ancestors but they believe it is their ancestor. Grounded in this relationship with Te Urewera, Jared’s place upon the wider world is defined in the following expression – ‘ora taiao, ora tangata’. These four words embody what he understands as a fundamental principle of human existence, that the prosperity of humanity depends on the vitality of the natural environment. Currently, Jared represents Para Kore (Zero Waste) in the Far North of New Zealand, providing free education and resources to indigenous Māori communities. Recently, Jared’s has developed Paenukurangi, an organization that focuses on achieving health and wellbeing through environmental regeneration. Lately, Jared has created a home that is 10 times more affordable with a sustainable footprint on the Earth. Jared continues his greater vision of regenerating the adjacent land into a thriving food forest system that will eventually feed the surrounding communities.
Majd Mashharawi, Core Principle Award for Confidence
A resident of war-torn Gaza, Majd Mashharawi observed the acute need for access to construction material in order to rebuild damaged buildings and infrastructure. She strove to meet this need by founding GreenCake in 2015, a company that creates environmentally friendly bricks from ash and rubble. In the summer of 2017, she developed SunBox, an affordable solar device that produces energy to alleviate the effects of the energy crisis in Gaza, where access to electricity has been severely restricted, sometimes to less than three hours a day. With SunBox, she was able to provide electricity to hundreds of people and now she scaled up the company with big solar fields installations. SunBox was awarded a prize in the annual MIT Pan Arab competition. She received her BSc in Civil Engineering from the Islamic University of Gaza. In 2018 she was selected as one of the most creative people in business by Fast Company. Recently, she spoke at TEDwomen 2018 in California.
Shadrack Frimpong, Core Principle Award for Dedication
Described by the late United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan as “embodiment of youth leadership” and by President Bill Clinton as “the Paul Farmer of [his] generation,” Shadrack Frimpong is a proud son of a peasant farmer and charcoal seller who grew up without running water and electricity in rural Ghana. Despite his background, Frimpong secured a full scholarship to attend the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, he graduated as a University Scholar and was awarded the $150,000 President’s Engagement Prize, Penn’s highest honor. With the prize as seed funding, Frimpong founded Cocoa360 and pioneered and built the “farm-for-impact” health equity model; a tuition-free girls’ school and hospital sustained by proceeds from a cocoa plantation. In less than 3 years of operation, Cocoa360 has grown to 37 full-time staff members, cared for 4000 patients, served 8 communities, reached over 35,000 farmers and educated 126 young girls. Shadrack also holds a Master’s degree in NonProfit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania, and is currently studying for a Master’s in Public Health degree at Yale University.
Michele Madison, Core Principle Award for Giving
Michele Madison is the founder of Farming the Future, a Tallahassee-based business that designs and builds greenhouses and aquaponics systems in schools, juvenile detention centers, low income/food-desert communities, private backyards, and commercial-scale farms. Farming the Future raises tilapia and catfish in ponds, pumps that water into finely calculated bioreactors, grows vegetables out of the bioreactors, and then sends that water back to the fish. They use this system as a tool for STEM, agricultural, and vocational training. Additionally, all of the food grown goes to school cafeterias, women’s shelters, homeless shelters, and other charitable organizations. Moreover, by foodscape kits in backyards, Farming the Future provides low-income families with the opportunity to save money at the grocery store, while creating an enriching and educational environment for their children. Early on in her career, Michele identified STEM access and food security as critical aspects of strong community development. Through her innovative concept of aquaponic greenhouses and integrated food systems, Michele created a thriving business that cultivates opportunities for youth and hands them the keys to their own future.
2018 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards Recipients
PEARSE LYONS, MUHAMMAD ALI HUMANITARIAN AWARD FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
In 1977, Dr. Pearse Lyons immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland with his young family. His vision — to sustain the planet and all things living on it by applying yeast fermentation to agricultural challenges — came to life in his garage in 1980 with $10,000.
Dr. Lyons’ company Alltech focus on improving animal, crop, and human health through yeast fermentation, enzyme technology, algae, and nutrigenomics. The fastest-growing company in the industry, it expanded to include award-winning beers and spirits, a crop science business, and promising research into human health challenges, such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. He established ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, which attracts 4,000 people from more than 70 countries annually.
The Lyons family has constructed more than a dozen primary school science laboratories in Kentucky and Ireland. Dr. Lyons created the Alltech Young Scientist program that provides students with fully funded Ph.D.s and cash prizes and he initiated an Alltech Innovation Competition, whcih rewards entrepreneurs with $10,000, the same amount with which he founded Alltech.
More than 450 undergraduates have completed internships at Alltech, and approximately 440 Ph.D., master’s and graduate students have been supported through Alltech’s bioscience centers. Dr. and Mrs. Lyons founded the Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition, which awards more than $500,000 in scholarships annually, and the ACE Involvement Foundation that, in part, funds the Alltech Sustainable Haiti Project, which supports two Haitian primary schools.
Dr. Lyons, who passed away March 8, 2018, is survived by his wife, Deirdre; daughter, Aoife; and son, Mark, and Mark’s wife, Holly. Alltech’s global team of more than 6,000 people joins his family in carrying forward his vision for a planet of plenty.
AMY CARLSON, MUHAMMAD ALI HUMANITARIAN AWARD FOR GENDER EQUALITY
Amy Carlson is known for her portrayal of strong female characters spanning from her most recent role, “Linda Reagan” (for seven seasons on CBS’ hit series, Blue Bloods, opposite Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg and Bridget Moynahan), to the female firefighter “Alex Taylor” on the NBC series Third Watch (where she had the honor of portraying a member of the FDNY before and during 9/11).
Amy is a social justice advocate, feminist and humanitarian. Growing up in the Middle East, Amy spent time in refugee camps which influenced her world view. Amy comes from an activist family; her father and step-mother are environmental advocates who “work the trails” in North Carolina as well as advocating for a variety of social justice issues, and her mother, who has lived in Egypt the past decade, is an active member of the Alexandria Turtle and Wildlife Rescue Team.
After the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, Amy traveled with World Vision to aid in the relief efforts. Her world experience fed her passion to advocate for social justice at home. She serves as a board member for Hearts of Gold, which provides support to homeless mothers and children in NYC, is active with Habitat for Humanity and is a founding member of SPaCE, a neighborhood organization in NYC, which advocates for the local Chinatown and LES community. Passionate about Women’s Rights, Amy published an essay in Gettysburg Replies, (alongside President Carter, Colin Powell and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor among others) in which she reexamines the Gettysburg Address for women’s solidarity. She is active in Equality Now, fighting for gender equality, as well as the “Time’s Up” and the “Me Too” movements.
Having lost her childhood friend to ME/CFS, (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), Amy passionately advocates for awareness of the illness. She recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to lobby for funds, partnered in a hometown screening of the film Unrest and is creating a foundation for her friend called “Friends of Anne Berry.” Amy graduated cum laude from Knox College in Galesburg Illinois, with a major in East Asian Studies.
DAVE EGGERS, MUHAMMAD ALI HUMANITARIAN AWARD FOR EDUCATION
Dave Eggers is the author of many books, including The Circle, A Hologram for the King, and, most recently the picture book What Can a Citizen Do?. His work has been nominated for the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and has won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, France’s Prix Médicis, Germany’s Albatross Prize, the National Magazine Award, and the American Book Award.
He is the co-founder of 826 Valencia, a youth writing a tutoring center in San Francisco that empowers young people through the written word. Since its opening in 2002, similar centers have emerged all over the world from Melbourne to Toronto to Milan and now Louisville, Kentucky, where the Young Authors Greenhouse opened in 2017.
In 2010, Eggers founded ScholarMatch, a college access organization dedicated to making higher education available to low income youth. ScholaMatch offers six years of wrap-around services to ensure higher graduation rates for young people. To date, ScholarMatch’s retention and graduation rate is 92%, and ScholarMatch has serves 1,500 students per year and has given $2.5 million in scholarships since its inception.
Eggers’s 2006 book What is the What, about South Sudanese civil war survivor Valentino Achak Deng, gave birth to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, run by Mr. Deng. VADF has a particular focus on girls’ and young women’s education and operates acclaimed schools in South Sudan.
Eggers is the founder of the independent San Francisco publisher McSweeney’s, which publishes Voice of Witness, a non-profit oral history series that illuminates global human rights crises.
In 2018, Eggers co-founded The International Congress of Youth Voices, an annual gathering of 100 extraordinary young writers and activists; their landmark meeting in San Francisco resulted in a youth-written manifesto published by The Guardian.
Eggers lives in California with his wife and two children. They have no significant pets.
Sister Larraine Anne Lauter, OSU, Muhammad Ali Kentucky Humanitarian
Larraine’s lifelong theme is the role of sister: “big sister” to her siblings, LaVay and Ron, “Sister” to her community of Mount Saint Joseph Ursulines, “Sister” to God’s people and all creation. In close to forty years of ministry, whether as art and music teacher, pastoral ministry in service to Catholic communities, choir director, ministry with immigrants, or nonprofit leadership, Larraine has always sought to be Sister more in spirit than by title.
Ten years ago, Sister Larraine had no warning that she would soon be immersed in the cause of God’s children who thirst for clean water. Together with friends Arnold LeMay and Jim Burris, she began to comprehend the immeasurable impact of clean water for the health of children and their communities. Their first Water Woman 2008 project, equipping Honduran mothers with water filters to share with the community, yielded unanticipated outcomes and was eventually incorporated as Water With Blessings (2011), a nonprofit recognized by the PAHO Foundation with a 2014 Award of Excellence. As executive lead, Sister Larraine simply holds on for the ride as God grows a global movement that, at present, counts around 74,000+ Water Women in 45 countries, supported by a great host of collaborators and supporters.
Along the way, Larraine has been immersed in matters of justice, environmental protection, art, and most importantly, the contemplative life. She credits her parents for her passion for justice, and her extended family and childhood churches for her “Batholic” upbringing. Cooking, pets and all things outdoors are her favorite therapies. She is blessed and supported by her loving family, community life with her Ursuline Sisters and the people of St. John Chrysostom, and friends.
Growing up in Florida and Kentucky, Larraine has always loved water. She learned to swim before she could walk, and has a great affinity for otters.
2018 Muhammad Ali Six Core Principle Award Recipients
Lisa Curtis, Core Principle Award for Dedication
Lisa Curtis is the Founder & CEO of Kuli Kuli, the first brand to introduce the green superfood moringa to the U.S. market. Lisa founded Kuli Kuli after working with moringa as a Peace Corps volunteer. Lisa has grown Kuli Kuli from a Peace Corps dream into a multi-million dollar social enterprise that sells delicious moringa products in over 6,000 stores.
Lisa and Kuli Kuli have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and hundreds of other publications. Prior to Kuli Kuli, Lisa served as the Communications Director at Mosaic where she managed a team of six to grow the company from zero to over $5M invested in solar through Mosaic’s online marketplace. Previously, Lisa wrote political briefings for President Obama in the White House, served as a United Nations Environment Programme Youth Advisor and worked at an impact investment firm in India.
She writes for a variety of outlets, including Forbes and The Huffington Post. Lisa has been recognized as a StartingBloc Fellow, a Wild Gift Better World Entrepreneur, an Ashoka Emerging Innovator, and a Udall Scholar. She was honored as a 30 Under 30 Leader by GreenBiz, the University of California and Forbes. She was also named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 “Top of the Class” for Social Entrepreneurship.
Alex Holmes, Core Principle Award for Respect
Alex Holmes is Deputy CEO at The Diana Award, a non-profit in memory of Princess Diana. He is also the founder of “Anti-Bullying Ambassadors,” a peer-support program for young people whose job it is to stand up to bullying, online and offline, in their schools and communities.
His own experience with bullying helped him to shape the program at The Diana Award. He has been a driving force behind empowering over 28,000 young Ambassadors in over 3,000 schools across United Kingdom, Ireland and internationally, introducing powerful peer-to-peer support programs to tackle bullying online and offline.
Alex was also named on the Independent on Sunday’s Happy List as one of the “100 people who make Britain a happier place to live.”
Reyna Montoya, Core Principle Award for Spirituality
Reyna Montoya is the founder and executive director of Aliento. Reyna was born in Tijuana, Mexico and migrated to Arizona in 2003, fleeing violence. She is an undocumented/DACAmented entrepreneur, community organizer, an educator, and a dancer. She is a 2016 Soros Justice Fellow, which enabled her to start Aliento. She also served in the first Teach for America DACA Advisory Board.
Reyna holds bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Transborder Studies and a Dance minor from Arizona State University; she also holds a M.Ed in Secondary Education from Grand Canyon University. She has engaged in local, statewide and national platforms to advance justice for immigrant communities. In 2013, she was the lead organizer for preventing the deportation of an immigration bus of undocumented immigrants in Phoenix, AZ – a first in the nation’s history. In the same year, with the help of the community, she stopped her father’s deportation.
She was also recognized as 2017 #NBCLatino20. She is a 2017 Echoing Green Fellow and a 2018 Forbes: 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur. This year, she was recognized by Univision as one of the 15 Latinas currently transforming the world. She hopes to share her talents and skills with the community to co-create healing spaces, political change, and leadership development of our immigrant youth.
Kushagra Srivastava, Core Principle Award for Conviction
Chakr Innovation aims to create pioneering, sustainable and scalable technologies to combat the grave threat posed by pollution. Chakr’s mission is to develop and implement innovative solutions which can effectively control pollution – saving the natural environment and protecting people’s health.
They have developed the world’s first retro-fit emission control device for diesel generators, which can capture over 90% of the particulate matter emissions from the exhaust of diesel generators without causing any adverse impact on the diesel engine. This results in the greater availability of breathable air.
Sheldon Smith, Core Principle Award for Confidence
Sheldon Smith, Executive Director and Founder of The Dovetail Project, began working as a community youth organizer in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood at the age of 13. As a teen, his community work focused on social issues such as youth and gang violence, juvenile justice, sexual health education, and promoting community activism.
When Sheldon became a father at the age of 20, he was determined to be the best father he could and he knew he wanted to help other young fathers lay the foundation to have a positive impact and build strong relationships with their children. He created The Dovetail Project in 2010 to bring together resources that were lacking in his own life and the lives of others.
Since then, his organization has graduated over 350 young men. Sheldon has raised over $4.5 million from private foundations and donors over the past eight years. Among many recognitions, Sheldon was selected as a 2018 American Red Cross Community Impact Hero, 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur, Best Businessmen of 2017 by Businessmen.biz, 2017 Steve Harvey Hero, 2016 CNN Hero, and he serves as a board Member for the International Youth Foundation.
Of all of his accomplishments, his greatest is being a devoted husband to his wife, Mary, and father to his daughter, Jada.
Alexandria Lafci, Core Principle Award for Giving
Alexandria Lafci is the Co-Founder of New Story, an innovative nonprofit founded in 2014 that builds homes and communities in the developing world.
Alexandria is a Y Combinator alum, Forbes 30 under 30 Entrepreneur, and World Economic Forum Global Shaper. Fast Company recognized New Story as one of “The World’s Most Innovative Companies” in 2017. Alexandria’s career is focused on innovating solutions for poverty alleviation, and she has led projects in 7 countries spanning micro-finance, small business development, land reform, supply chain, and education. She is passionate about deploying emerging technology in emerging markets.
In 2018, Alexandria co-led the creation of a 3D home printer designed to work in complex environments and successfully printed the first permitted 3D home in the US.
2017 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards Recipients
Patricia Arquette, Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Lifetime Achievement
Actress, writer and activist Patricia Arquette has spent her career portraying memorable characters in film and on television. Winner of both the Academy Award and the Emmy for her acting—and multiple other awards including the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, and the Independent Spirit, BAFTA, Satellite, and Critics Choice Awards—Arquette has chosen to use her considerable visibility to shine a light on issues and speak for people whose voices are rarely heard. Patricia Arquette founded GiveLove in January 2010 after the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Her hands-on approach to ecological sanitation has inspired the best experts in the field to work on programs and solutions. Patricia’s interest in promoting compost sanitation and improving public health is motivated by the desire to protect water resources, restore soil fertility, and create more resilient communities. In addition to Haiti, GiveLove.org provides services in Uganda, Nicaragua, India and most recently, in Standing Rock, in partnership with Native Children’s Survival, Protectors Alliance and The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
She comes from a long line of activists having been raised by a Muslim Father and a Jewish mother who taught her the principles of tolerance. Her mother Mardi was a civil rights and peace activist. Her sister Alexis was a proud Transgender woman who fought for inclusion and civil rights for the Trans community. Her brother Richmond volunteered in Haiti to help build classrooms and emergency shelter after the earthquake. Her sister Rosanna is an advocate for sex trafficking victims and started the Alexis Arquette Family Foundation to support victims of violence, her brother David has long been a change maker in the fight against hunger in America donating his time and helping to launch a weekend backpack program, Feeding America, which has provided low income children with food to take home on weekends as well as the Stamp Out Hunger program which collects canned goods yearly for local food banks.
Patricia has been honored with the GLAAD Vanguard award for being a fierce ally to the LGBT community. She has galvanized a growing movement determined to achieve equality for women and all people in the United States and has been a steadfast champion for women over the course of many years advocating for equal pay laws as well as rape kit processing.
HRH Princess Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite, Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year
HRH Princess Dr. Nisreen’s origins combine history, religion, politics, education, and humanitarianism: since she is a direct descendent of the Prophet of Islam, Mohammed, and granddaughter of King Faisal (I), the founder of the Modern State of Iraq. Vowing to preserve the traditions of her family, Princess Dr. Nisreen not only dedicated herself to serving mankind, but also broke the Royal traditional mold and became a highly visible doctor and scientist and authored several papers and books. Princess Dr. Nisreen is the recipient of multiple awards and Honorary Doctorates in the fields of science, arts, literature, and humanitarian affairs.
Her career started in 1995 at University of London hospitals and Institutes and continued at Brigham and Women’s Hospital – Harvard Medical School. As the Founder of Jeans 4 Genes International, she dedicated her expertise to transfer of technology, developing early detection and prevention programs of Genetic Disorders and Cancer, and to improve women’s maternal and reproductive health in developing countries. In 2007, Princess Nisreen, became the Executive Director of the Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT) and devoted herself to serving Sustainable Development Programs in the world. She established the World Women’s Health and Development Forum at the United Nations and is the Founder of the Women in Science International League. In 2015, she was the catalyst for the UN General Assembly to proclaim February 11th the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. She is founder of MUTE International Program, to promote, protect and ensure equal human rights for the deaf and hearing-impaired; and a co-founder of Culture for Peace Program, to promote peace through arts.
In 1998, Princess El-Hashemite organized and chaired the RASIT-UNESCO First International Congress of University Students. Since 2009, she has created campaigns to renounce sectarianism and radicalization, to create harmony and reconciliation in societies. Princess Nisreen is the first artist to use Arabic / Turkish coffee for paintings, donating all proceeds from her collection to support Charitable Programs. Dr. El-Hashemite visits schools and uses her titles: Princess and doctor, to encourage children, mainly girls, to choose science as a career.
Ashley Judd, Muhammad Ali Kentucky Humanitarian
Ashley Judd is well known for dexterously starring in both box office hits and for turning in unforgettable performances in fine independent films. From her debut in Sundance Film Festival grand jury prize winner, Ruby In Paradise, to Kiss the Girls, Double Jeopardy, De-Lovely and the Divergent series, her films tell very personal stories– which is exactly what Judd does when she is not making movies. She will next be seen starring in season two of Epix’s political thriller series Berlin Station.
Ashley Judd is a feminist social justice humanitarian. Her work on the screen has ultimately prepared her to advocate and activate inequities in the world through her strong voice and active leadership. She has been working internationally, with NGO’S, grass roots organizations, governments, and supranational bodies since 2004.
Presently, she serves as Global Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), where she helps raise awareness of reproductive health for girls and women, and advocates against other injustices of young people. Ashley is also the Global Ambassador for Population Services International (PSI), and in this role has visited slums, brothels, schools and clinics worldwide, to help shed light on the devastating effects of poverty, social injustice and gender inequality, and has met with diplomats, heads of state, and religious and political leaders to promote humanitarian causes on a political level. As an Ambassador of the Polaris Project, Ashley serves as a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery and restore freedom to survivors. She also serves on multiple advisory boards and is Chairperson of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project: Curbing Abuse, Expanding Freedom. In addition, Ms. Judd has travelled the world to do international public health.
Ashley is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, and in 2010, earned an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Paige Elenson, Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Global Citizenship
Paige lives and breathes the creed of service and self-empowerment that she teaches. A native New Yorker, graduate of New York University, and former Wall Street consultant, Paige has been teaching yoga for over a decade in the dynamic Baptiste, AcroYoga, and Jivamukti methods. As a Senior Baptiste and AcroYoga Teacher, Paige teaches in Yoga Journal Conferences across the United States, and is a featured presenter at the Evolution Asia Yoga Conference, the Barcelona Yoga Conference, the AcroYoga Festival, the Baptiste Power Flow Immersion, and the Yoga Teacher Telesummit.
Paige’s incisive skills as a businesswoman, spiritual activist, and yogini inspired her work with the Africa Yoga Project organization. In 2007, Paige moved to Africa and co-founded the AYP organization, a movement that empowers the youth and women of Kenya to learn, contribute, and change their lives through the transformative power of yoga. With the support of Baron Baptiste and his community, the AYP organization facilitated the first yoga teacher training in Kenya and now employs local youth to teach full-time in their own communities. AYP programs offer free classes to over 3,000 students per week, simultaneously building schools and funding education, critical operations, and environmental endeavors.
Since 2007, Paige has partnered with leaders in politics, philanthropy, design, and entertainment to broaden the AYP organization’s empowering reach. Whether working alongside Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Foundation, Christy Turlington, or Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative, Paige creates unique opportunities for community involvement and transformation. At home in Nairobi or reaching students around the world, Paige’s dedication to positive global change is infectious and inspiring.
Hill Harper, Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Education
Hill Harper is an award-winning actor, best-selling author and philanthropist. Harper starred on the hit CBS drama CSI: NY, HLN’s How It Really Happened with Hill Harper, and Showtime’s award-winning series Homeland. This fall, Harper will begin his role as Dr. Marcus Andrews on the highly-anticipated new show, The Good Doctor on ABC. In theaters, he can be seen in the movie Concussion and the recently released Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me. Harper has earned seven NAACP Image Awards for his writing and acting and is a New York Times best-selling author for his books: Letters to a Young Brother, (which was also named “Best Book for Young Adults” by the American Library Association in 2007) Letters to a Young Sister, and The Conversation. Additionally, he has written Letters to an Incarcerated Brother and The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in its Place. Harper founded The Manifest Your Destiny Foundation which is dedicated to empowering, encouraging, and inspiring underserved youth to succeed through mentorship, scholarship and grant programs.
Hill Harper graduated magna cum laude as valedictorian of his department with a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and cum laude with a Juris Doctorate degree from Harvard Law School. He also holds a master’s degree with honors from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and holds Honorary Doctoral Degrees from Winston-Salem State University, Cheyney University, Westfield State College, Tougaloo College, Le-Moyne Owen College, Dillard University and Howard University.
Harper currently serves on the President’s Cancer Panel having been appointed by President Obama in 2011. Harper travels worldwide as a motivational speaker, addressing current affairs and life-awakening topics to a wide array of audiences of youth, adults, couples, and business leaders. He is also a job creator, as an entrepreneur; Harper owns The Roasting Plant Coffee Roastery in Detroit, a hotel in New Orleans, and The Architect & Co – a health and wellness company. In 2014, People Magazine named him one of their Sexiest Men Alive.
Heather Heyer, Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Social Justice
Heather D. Heyer, a young woman with a big heart and a love for all individuals regardless of race, religion or creed, lost her life August 12, 2017 when a car plowed into a crowd of counterdemonstrators who were protesting a rally of neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and other white nationalists.
Heather was a high school graduate who had worked for years as a waitress and a bartender until 2012 when she was given the opportunity to work at a local law firm in Charlottesville, VA. Upon getting this opportunity to better herself and establish a career, Heather embraced and worked hard to become a paralegal. While working as a paralegal, Heather continued to voice her concerns and views about equality. She had many days she would cry at her desk because of minorities or isolated religious cultures were being unjustly treated. By speaking out for justice and equality, Heather embodied the spirit of the civil rights movement.
Heather was a young woman who was deeply involved in taking a stand against injustice when she didn’t have to do so. Heather’s story shows how much has changed since the civil rights movement but it also shows how much hasn’t changed.
The Heather Heyer Foundation was created to honor Heather Heyer, a young civil rights activist, who dedicated her life to promoting equal rights for all people.
2017 Muhammad Ali Six Core Principle Award Recipients
Gavin Armstrong, age 30, Toronto, Canada will be honored for his Confidence in advocating against hunger and malnutrition. He is the Founder and President of Lucky Iron FishTM, a social enterprise attempting to alleviate iron deficiency around the world using a simple health innovation. He was a Fulbright scholar at Auburn University and he was awarded the prestigious Forbes 30 under 30 in the Social Entrepreneur category in 2016.
Mohammed Ashour, age 30, Austin, Texas will receive the Conviction Award. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aspire, a company that develops the most advanced insect farming technology in the world. Aspire targets markets that utilize insects for applications in nutrition, biomedicine and agrochemicals with a vision to alleviate global food insecurity. With expertise in business development, finance and strategic partnerships, Mohammed leads Aspire’s operations and growth in the United States and Ghana. In 2015, he was recognized as a “Top MBA Impact Maker” by McGill University and in 2016, he was inducted into the renowned Forbes 30 under 30 list.
John-Son Oei, age 30, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia will receive theDedication Award. He is the co-founder and CEO of EPIC, a company that aims to build relationships between the urban and rural divide through the activity of building homes for underprivileged Malaysian communities. John-son has been involved in the social development scene as an Ashoka Changemaker, was awarded as a promising young leader under the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia in the Social Entrepreneur category in 2016, was Malaysia’s official flag bearer for the 2012 Commonwealth day in the presence of the Queen Elizabeth in conjunction with the Queens Diamond Jubilee.
Iseult Ward, age 26, Dublin, Ireland will receive the Giving Award. She is the co-founder and CEO of the award-winning social enterprise FoodCloud. FoodCloud has 2,000 retail stores across the UK and Ireland, including Tesco, Aldi, Lidl and Waitrose, donating surplus food directly to over 5,000 charities through its software program. Over 18 million meals have been donated through the platform to date, with one million meals donated in May 2017 alone. In 2017, Iseult was included on Forbes 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs European List and named as one of Ireland’s top 25 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network.
Anoop Jain, age 30, Oakland, California will be honored for his Respect working on public health initiatives in India. He founded SHRI, an organization that fights alongside rural Indian communities to end open defecation as a key step in the struggle for health equality, and social and economic justice. Anoop received his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in 2009, his Masters of Public Health from Tulane University in 2013, and is currently a PhD candidate in public health at the University of California, Berkeley.
Hannah Taylor, age 21, Winnipeg, Canada will receive the Spirituality Award. At age 8, she founded The Ladybug Foundation, a charity that has raised millions of dollars and helped more than 65 homeless shelters and food banks across Canada. At age 10, Hannah founded The Ladybug Foundation Education Program to develop and distribute more than 11,000 copies of “makeChange”, a multimedia classroom resource to empower young people to change the world. “I can makeChange Online” is Hannah’s latest initiative.
2016 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award Recipients
Cindy Hensley McCain, Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Lifetime Achievement
Cindy Hensley McCain has dedicated her life to improving the lives of those less fortunate both in the United States and around the world.
Cindy serves as co-chair of the Arizona Governor’s Council on human trafficking and on the McCain Institute’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council. She is dedicated to efforts to reduce human trafficking in Arizona, throughout the United States and around the world, as well as working to improve the lives of victims. Through her work with the McCain Institute, several partnerships have been formed with anti-trafficking organizations working on solving various aspects of the problem.
Cindy also served on the Board of Directors for Operation Smile, a non-profit organization whose mission is to repair cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities for children around the world. She was a member of the HALO Trust Board, as well as a founding Member of the Eastern Congo Initiative. She is committed to raising awareness of the travesties facing women and children in The Congo.
She also sits on the Advisory Boards of Too Small To Fail and Warriors and Quiet Waters. Cindy holds an undergraduate degree in Education and a Master’s in Special Education from USC and is a member of the USC Rossier School of Education Board of Councilors.
Cindy is the Chairman of her family’s business, Hensley Beverage Company, which is one of the largest Anheuser-Busch distributors in the nation. She is on the board of Project CURE. Cindy resides in Phoenix with her husband, U.S. Senator John McCain. They have four children.
Jon Secada, Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award
Multi-Grammy Award-winner Jon Secada’s career spans over two decades and includes 20 million albums sold and a Broadway starring role in 1995 for “Grease.” His numerous hits, including “Just Another Day,” in English and Spanish established him as one of the first bilingual artists to have international crossover success. Jon also became a popular songwriter for other artists, including Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Mandy Moore, and Gloria Estefan, including her number one hit “Coming Out of the Dark.”
Born in Cuba, Jon arrived in Miami, Florida at age nine. He is a graduate of the University of Miami, where he also established the Jon Secada Music Scholarship. In addition to his time in the recording studio and on stage, Jon served as a celebrity judge for four years on the international hit show, “Latin American Idol” and participated as a contestant on Univision’s hit dance show “Mira Quien Balia”, the Latin “Dancing with the Stars.”
Under his organization, Jon Secada Charities, Jon has devoted himself to assisting charitable groups all over the world, focusing on children, education, AIDS research, and child abuse. Specifically, he has supported the Pediatric AIDS Unit at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital, the Lifebeat Concert to benefit AIDS research, Amigos Together for Kids, Make-A-Wish Foundation, as well as many other initiatives. His tribute song, “The Last Goodbye,” was dedicated to the families of 9/11 victims. He included an all-star version in Spanish, which was released as a single, with all proceeds going to the victims’ families.
Jon was appointed by former President George W. Bush to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, aimed at closing the educational achievement gap between Hispanic students and their peers. Jon’s commitment to education remains steadfast, as he is currently a visiting professor at Miami Dade College, the University of Miami, and Riverside Community College. He also serves as a celebrity mentor for The Inspire and Develop Artists Program (IDA). In June, Jon hosted an earthquake relief concert for Ecuador. The funds raised provided permanent shelter and relief to a group of orphaned children.
Louis Gossett, Jr., Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Education
Louis Gossett, Jr. is one of stage, film and television’s most recognized and lauded talents. With over three hundred titles to his credit, Gossett has earned some of the industry’s highest honors—including Emmy’s, Golden Globes, NAACP Image Awards, and an Academy Award for his portrayal of Sgt. Emil Foley in “An Officer and a Gentleman”—and now adds author, director, and humanitarian to his accomplishments.
Louis Gossett, Jr. was born in 1936, in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of 17, Gossett caught his first break as the lead for Broadway’s “Take a Giant Step” (1953). His next Broadway role would come in 1959, in the watershed play “A Raisin in the Sun”—a portrayal of African American life written by Lorraine Hansberry.
This led to numerous roles in the 1960s and 70s leading to 1977, when he earned an Emmy for his performance in the groundbreaking mini-series “Roots.” His menacing work in “The Deep” (1977) and portrayal of a tough but fair drill sergeant in “An Officer and a Gentleman” (1982) brought him rave reviews, with the latter role earning him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
A Los Angeles Times best-selling author (An Actor and a Gentleman), Gossett is still working steadily in films and on TV.
With a career spanning six decades, the elder statesman has dedicated this last quadrant of his life to communicate with younger generations and transmit the values of community, self-love, and purpose that have characterized our progress as a people. He established Louis Gossett Jr.’s Eracism Foundation which is dedicated to providing young adults with the tools they need for living a racially diverse and culturally inclusive life. Through his Foundation, Gossett will establish Shamba Centers (Swahili for “farm”) throughout the United States, that offer instruction in cultural diversity, historical enrichment and antiviolence initiatives for young adults, teens and pre-teens to help them understand and eliminate racism by creating a living environment where racism and injustice have a hard time existing.
Sheryl Lee Ralph, Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Global Citizenship
Sheryl Lee Ralph has had success on Broadway, on screen and television, with music, and with her philanthropic endeavors. A triple-threat dreamgirl, Sheryl’s award-winning work includes creating the role of Deena Jones in the legendary Broadway musical, “Dreamgirls” and earning Best Actress nods for Tony and Drama Desk Awards.
Sheryl’s past TV credits include “It’s a Living,” “Designing Women,” “The District,” “Moesha,” and others. On the big screen, Sheryl has appeared in “The Mighty Quinn,” “Mistress,” “To Sleep with Anger” and “The Distinguished Gentlemen.”
She has been named one of the top 10 College Women in America by Glamour magazine and has been recognized around the country for her artistic endeavors, but she finds the most fulfillment in giving back to the global community.
Sheryl has spent the last three decades advocating for those infected by HIV/AIDS and educating others around the world about the importance of knowing their status. She is the founding Director of The Divinely Inspired Victoriously Aware (DIVA) Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, created as a living memorial to the many friends she lost to HIV/AIDS while a member of Dreamgirls.
In 1990, Sheryl also founded DIVAS Simply Singing!, the longest consecutive running musical HIV/AIDS benefit in the country and has been honored for her one-woman show “Sometimes I Cry,” about the lives, loves and losses of HIV/AIDS-infected women.
Named one of the most FIERCE & FABULOUS Women in America by ESSENCE magazine, Sheryl received her Doctorate in Humane Letters from Tougaloo College and Huston‐Tillotson University for her AIDS activism. Sheryl also holds the distinction of being the youngest female graduate of Rutgers College (RU) at the age of 19. She was awarded the first Red Ribbon Award at the UN for her unique use of the arts in HIV/AIDS activism. Sheryl has also served as AIDS Ambassador for Jamaica’s Ministry of Health. She is on the Board of Trustees of Los Angeles Project Angel Food.
In 2008, she and her husband, Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes, started Test Together, a campaign that encourages couples to know their status as an essential first step.
Mother of Etienne and Ivy with a blended family of four, Sheryl resides in Los Angeles and Philadelphia with her husband.
John Rosenberg, 2016 Kentucky Humanitarian Award
John Rosenberg is best known as the founding director of the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky, which has long been a refuge and advocate for the poor and disadvantaged in the Appalachian counties of the state, but his life and career go well beyond that.
After receiving a scholarship to Duke, where he earned a chemistry degree, John served in the Air Force. He earned his law degree at North Carolina, and then became a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, where he handled cases involving discrimination in voting, school integration and public accommodations in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.
In 1970, John and his wife Jean moved to Prestonsburg, KY, where he was deputy director of the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund (AppalReD) for Kentucky, which fights such ills as abusive land-use practices and black-lung disease. AppalReD serves 37 counties and has a network of 21 lawyers and 16 support staff. From 1973 to 2001, John served as the director. Since 2001, John has been AppalReD’s director emeritus, helping support its mission and clientele in many ways while maintaining a private, not-for-profit legal practice that focuses on assistance to non-profit corporations serving low-income persons, and pro bono representation of individuals.
But John is much more than a lawyer. He is a leading citizen of Eastern Kentucky, who has tried in many ways to address the region’s poverty, isolation, lack of education, corrupt politics, and domination by the coal industry. John helped draft the Kentucky constitutional amendment negating “broad form” deeds that allowed strip mining. John and his wife Jean are also longtime leaders in the effort to improve education in Eastern Kentucky, especially in Floyd County. Through their efforts, many young people have benefited from the creation of the East Kentucky’s Science Center, now part of the Big Sandy Community and Technical College. John was also very involved in forming the non-profit organization Low Income Housing of Eastern Kentucky, which builds affordable housing for low-income people. Seventy-five homes have been built to date.
Among other accolades, in 2015 he was honored by the ACLU of Kentucky for his lifetime work of leading AppalReD.
2016 Muhammad Ali Six Core Principle Award Recipients
Josh Nesbit, Waterford, Virginia received the Confidence award. Josh is the co-founder and CEO of Medic Mobile, a nonprofit organization that builds mobile and web tools for community health workers, clinic staff, and families in the hardest-to-reach communities.
Shawana Shah, Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan received the Conviction award. Shawana works to end gender-based violence in her native Pakistan and to provide women a platform to fight for their rights.
Curt Bowen, Boise, Idaho received the Dedication award. Curt is the executive director and co-founder of Semilla Nueva, a nonprofit that develops locally-led farmer education programs that increase the income, rebuild the soils, and improve the food security of Guatemala’s rural poor.
Jakob Schillinger, Tuebingen, Germany received the Giving award. Jakob is the co-founder of OneDollarGlasses, which produces high-quality prescription eyeglasses for a cost of less than one dollar per pair.
Tina Hovsepian, Los Angeles, California received the Respect award. Tina is the founder and executive director of Cardborigami, a nonprofit that supports those who lost their homes due to poverty, natural disasters, or other crises.
Navonel Voni Glick, Tel Aviv, Israel received the Spirituality award. Voni is the chief operating officer of IsraAID and previously served as its programs director, leading disaster-response missions across the world.
2015 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award Recipients
Harry Belafonte, legendary and multi-talented artist and social justice activist, received the prestigious Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award. Harry Belafonte exposed America to world music and spent his life challenging and overturning racial barriers across the globe. Belafonte met a young Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on King’s historic visit to New York in the early 1950s and developed a deep and abiding friendship. Belafonte played a key role in the civil rights movement, including the 1963 March on Washington. In 1985, disturbed by war, drought, and famine in Africa, Belafonte helped organize the Grammy-winning song “We Are the World,” a multi-artist effort to raise funds for Africa. Belafonte was active in efforts to end apartheid in South Africa and to release Nelson Mandela. Belafonte served as the cultural advisor for the Peace Corps, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and was honored as an Ambassador of Conscience by Amnesty International. Recently, Belafonte founded the Sankofa Justice & Equity Fund, a non-profit social justice organization that utilizes the power of culture and celebrity in partnership with activism. Belafonte received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in November 2014. For health reasons, Mr. Belafonte was unable to attend the event.
Geena Davis, Academy Award-winner, humanitarian, and women’s advocate, was honored as the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year. Geena Davis, one of Hollywood’s most respected actors, is recognized for her tireless advocacy of gender equality in media nearly as much as for her acting accomplishments. She is the Founder and Chair of the non-profit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which is successfully influencing film and television content creators to dramatically increase the percentages of female characters—and reduce gender stereotyping—in media targeting children 11 and under. In 2015, Davis launched the Bentonville Film Festival (BFF), an unprecedented initiative in support of women and diversity in the entertainment industry and serves as its Co-Founder and Chair. In 2012, Davis was appointed Special Envoy for Women and Girls in ICT for the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU). She is an official partner of UN Women and is also the Chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women. Davis has also received the 2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series Drama, an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “The Accidental Tourist” in 1989, and numerous other nominations and accolades. Davis broke ground in her portrayal of the first female President of the United States in ABC’s hit show “Commander in Chief.” Davis is also a world-class athlete (at one time was the nation’s 13th-ranked archer and a semi-finalist in the Olympic Trials).
Dr. Andrew Moore from Lexington, Kentucky, founder of Surgery on Sunday, was named the 2015 Muhammad Ali Kentucky Humanitarian of the Year. Dr. Moore, a plastic surgeon for nearly 40 years, witnessed throughout his career the need for a program to serve individuals who “fell between the cracks” of the health care industry. Dedicated to a population of people often overlooked, Dr. Moore made it his mission to see the working poor receive outpatient surgeries they would not otherwise receive due to their inability to pay. In 2005, he founded Surgery on Sunday, a program that provides essential outpatient surgeries and procedures to the uninsured and underinsured who do not qualify for state or federal programs. It is the first program of its kind in the United States. Relying entirely on volunteers, Surgery on Sunday performs outpatient surgeries the third Sunday of each month at the Lexington Surgery Center, utilizing volunteer physicians, anesthesiologists, nurses and administrative personnel. To date, volunteers have contributed over 90,000 hours of service to assist patients in need. Since inception, the organization founded by Dr. Moore has assisted over 5,600 patients, with that number growing monthly.
Rose Mapendo of the Democratic Republic of Congo was honored with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Gender Equality. Rose Mapendo was born in Mulenge, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1963 to a Banyamulenge Tutsi family. She was married at the age of 16 and began raising a family. In the early 1990s, ethnic violence in the DRC changed her world almost overnight. After surviving a harrowing experience that included the arrest of her entire family, execution of her husband, birth of their twin sons in prison, grim negotiations with prison guards to save the lives of her 10 children, Mapendo experienced a seemingly miraculous chain of events that resulted in her family’s rescue and resettlement in Phoenix. While Mapendo adjusted to life in the United States, she never forgot the women that she left behind and emerged from her experience advocating forgiveness and reconciliation. She established the Rose Mapendo Foundation in Phoenix that focuses on instilling a sense of worth and empowerment for women and girls, and emphasizes hope for change.
Age 24 of Bathurst, New Brunswick, Kyla LaPointe was honored for her Confidence as a leading advocate for promoting policy, programming, resources, and other support that will benefit youth who are part of the child welfare system. She played a key role in founding the New Brunswick Youth in Care Network.
A 13-year-old from the Khyber Province of Pakistan, Hadiqa Bashir was honored for her Conviction as the pioneer of Girls United for Human Rights. The Girls United for Human Rights mission is to empower the disenfranchised girls in rural regions of Pakistan, eliminate socioeconomic inequality, facilitate self-reliance, enable local self-governance, and promote people’s advocacy.
31-year-old* Christopher Ategeka received the honor for Dedication. Born and raised in rural Uganda, orphaned at 7, educated at the University of California and Ategeka used his hard-won experience to start Rides for Lives, an organization that manufactures locally sourced ambulances to improve medical access and economic opportunities to those most vulnerable. *Ategeka was 30 years old upon being nominated for the award.
Veronika Scott, age 26, received the Giving award as the founder of The Empowerment Plan, an organization that began around a single idea: to design a coat specifically for the homeless. The organization has now transformed into a system of empowerment in which homeless women are paid to learn how to produce coats for people living on the streets, giving them an opportunity to earn money, find a place to live, and gain back their independence.
Sasha Fisher, age 26, was honored for the Respect core principle. Fisher is the co-founder and executive director of Spark MicroGrants, which enables remote villages in east Africa to design and launch their own social impact projects through a six-month facilitated collective action process.
Tanyella Evans, age 28, was honored for her extraordinary sense of Spirituality. Driven by the philosophy that education is a basic human right, essential to prosperity and peace, Evans co-founded Library For All, an organization that offers a digital library platform to make quality educational resources available to individuals across the developing world.
2014 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award Recipients
Jim Brown was presented the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award. Jim Brown is known worldwide for his Hall of Fame football exploits as a running back for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. He boldly stood up for civil rights at a time it was not a cool thing to do, and fought for equality and against injustice with necessitated courage and uncompromising integrity. It was Jim Brown who rallied the premiere athletes of the 1960s to support Muhammad Ali’s right to conscientiously object to service in the Vietnam War. Brown founded the Amer-I-Can Life Management Skills program in 1988, a program that has changed and saved thousands of lives.
Mick Ebeling received the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award for his work as founder and CEO of Not Impossible, LLC, an organization that develops creative solutions to real-world problems. Not Impossible’s latest endeavor, Project Daniel, is the subject of Intel’s latest Look Inside campaign. For Project Daniel, Ebeling flew to Sudan to 3D-print and fit prosthetic limbs for children of the war-torn region, then left the equipment behind with locals he’d trained who continued after he left, thus establishing the world’s first 3D printing prosthetic lab and training facility. Mick also created the Eyewriter: a DIY, open-source, low-cost device that enables individuals with paralysis to communicate and create art using only the movement of their eyes.
Susan Sarandon was honored with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Global Citizenship. The Academy-Award winning actress and social and economic activist’s charitable work includes serving as an ambassador for UNICEF, on the board of advisors for the Yéle Haiti Foundation, and on the Advisory Committee for FilmAid International. She also has served on the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) Board of Directors and is now on their Advisory Board. Susan was Action Against Hunger’s award recipient at the “Restaurants Against Hunger Campaign” gala in 2006, in honor of World Food Day.
Common was given the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Education. Common, who is a multiple Grammy Award-winning hip hop artist, poet, and guest speaker known to motivate and empower collegiate minds at prestigious universities across the country. In 2000, he launched his own philanthropic effort, The Common Ground Foundation, whose mission is dedicated to the empowerment and development of disadvantaged youth in urban communities by mentoring in three areas: character development, creative expression and healthy living.
The 2014 Muhammad Ali Kentucky Humanitarian Award went to Mr. and Mrs. Robert and Deborah Blair, founders of the West End School in Louisville. West End School is a free, private, college preparatory, Pre-K through Eighth school for young men. West End School strives to address all of the issues boys in the community face by creating an environment of high expectations and personal responsibility. Through the School’s rigorous academic and personal standards, students are encouraged to attain the highest possible level of scholarship, character, and intellectual growth.
2014 Muhammad Ali Six Core Principle Award Recipients
Jessica Matthews, a dual citizen of the USA and Nigeria, is the Co-Founder & CEO of Uncharted Play, Inc., an award winning social enterprise. When the power went out at her uncle’s wedding celebration in Nigeria she began to think about how everyday play could change the world. She and her colleagues invented SOCCKET (a soccer ball) and the Pulse (a jump rope), that provides off-grid power and addresses the short-term need for electricity, a challenge at the root of many global ills. She hopes that Uncharted Play will inspire others to become inventors capable of solving the world’s problems. Jessica, a graduate of Harvard Business School, wants to show the world “doing good and good well need not be mutually exclusive.”
Mario Andres Hurtado Cardozo
Mario Andres Hurtado Cardozo, 22, is the first Colombian youth to win legal recognition as a conscientious objector for non-religious purposes. Raised in an area heavily impacted by violence and illegal military recruitment, at 18 Mario publicly declared himself a conscientious objector and started using art as a form of resistance. Having completed his studies in law and political science, Mario has not received his diploma because he refuses to accept the required military identification card. A hip hop artist, Mario continues his work with Acción Colectiva de Objetores y Objetoras de Consciencia to promote rights and life affirming activities for young people. Working with ACOOC Mario helps to develop strategies in support of conscientious objection, anti-militarization, and active nonviolence in Colombia; they created and shared these ideas through theater and music presentations for the community.
Kennedy Odede, 30, is the founder of Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), the largest grassroots organization in the Kiberia slum where he grew up in Nairobi, Kenya. Kennedy always dreamed about changing his community. In 2004 Kennedy saved 20 cents and bought a soccer ball to start SHOFCO, which combats extreme poverty and gender inequality by linking tuition free schools for girls to accessible social services for all. SHOFCO also offers community-wide services including health care, community empowerment, and water and sanitation. Although he was informally educated, Kennedy received a full-scholarship to Wesleyan University. He graduated in 2012 as the Commencement Speaker and with honors in Sociology. His work has been featured in the PBS documentary Half the Sky.
Talia Leman, 19, is the founder of RandomKid, a non-profit organization that leverages the power of youth to solve problems in the world. Talia began her work in 2005 to support survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Children across the United States raised $10.4 million under Talia’s leadership, ranking their giving power with the top 5 U.S. corporations. Realizing the power of youth, Talia founded RandomKid, an organization that provides random youth everywhere with cutting edge free resources to grow their initiatives to better the world, and ways to leverage their giving. RandomKid has unified the efforts of 12 million youth from 20 countries to result in bringing aid to four continents. Talia’s “A Random Book about the Power of ANYone” rose to the number one spot on Amazon’s Mover & Shaker list. Talia was named one of Forbes 30 under 30 brightest stars for 2014. She is currently a sophomore at Stanford University.
Sejal Hathi, 22, the Cofounder and Strategic Partnerships Director of Girltank, a hybrid social enterprise incubating the most innovative female entrepreneurs globally. She has served also as the Founder & CEO of Girls Helping Girls, an international nonprofit dedicated to empowering girls to achieve an education and create sustainable social change. empowering young women globally with a presence in 104 countries. Sejal is also a Founding Partner at S2 Capital, an early-stage social fund that invests equity and debt in young entrepreneurs in the developing world. A published author, Sejal graduated from Yale University and is currently a student at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, pursuing a career at the nexus of medicine, technology, and social innovation. Sejal has been recognized globally for her innovative work.
Mastura Rashid, 24, is the founder of The Nasi Lemak Project in Malaysia. While studying at International Islamic University of Malaysia, Mastura began working with young Rohingya refugees and helped establish a literacy center to address the need for access to education in that community. The Nasi Lemak Project feeding homeless youth, began in 2013 with a Generation Change grant from the US Embassy and has grown to include educational programs for the urban poor. By harnessing the power for volunteers and social enterprise, the project is working toward its goal of feeding, educating, and empowering 2000 young people.
2013 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award Recipients
Jimmy Carter, the nation’s 39th president, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, co-founder of the nongovernmental, not-for-profit Carter Center, devoted to advancing human rights and alleviating human suffering, received the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award. Significant accomplishments of the Carter White House administration included the Panama Canal treaties, the Camp David Accords, the treaty of peace between Egypt and Israel, the SALT II strategic arms limitation treaty with the Soviet Union, and the establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. He also was the first president to make human rights a central element of U.S. foreign policy. Since 1982, The Carter Center has worked to resolve conflict, promote democracy, protect human rights, and prevent disease in many of the world’s poorest nations. President Carter has a longstanding agenda of pursuing peace and human rights for all people. He and Muhammad Ali have a history together, for in 1980, President Carter appointed Ali as a special envoy to Africa to lobby for a boycott of the Moscow Olympics following Russia’s military intervention in Afghanistan. Chip Carter, Son of President Carter, accepted the award on behalf of President Carter.
Christina Aguilera—referred to by many to as the “voice of her generation”—received the first ever Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award for her work to end global hunger in her role as global spokesperson for Yum! Brands World Hunger Relief and as Global Ambassador for the United Nations World Food Programme. Ms. Aguilera is an acclaimed American singer/ songwriter who has developed a strong following over the past decade for her musical versatility and her deep dedication to philanthropic causes. As one of the most successful recording artists of the decade, Ms. Aguilera has sold more than 43 million records worldwide and won four Grammy Awards and one Latin Grammy Award. In 2012, she was named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People in the World. Since 2009, Ms. Aguilera has demonstrated her strong commitment to world hunger issues through her role as global spokesperson for Yum! Brands’ World Hunger Relief effort which raises awareness, volunteerism and funds for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and others. Aguilera appears in Yum! Brands’ World Hunger Relief public service announcements, restaurant posters, and online efforts, including the campaign’s website HungertoHope.com. She also appeared in a PSA with Muhammad Ali in 2010 to help WFP Haiti earthquake relief efforts. Her efforts have helped raise millions for WFP and other hunger relief agencies. Aguilera also serves as an “Ambassador Against Hunger” for WFP where she has traveled on relief trips with the organization to Guatemala, Haiti and Rwanda.
Michael Bolton, multi-Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and humanitarian, received the first annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Gender Equality. Michael has earned two Grammys for Best Pop Male Vocal, 6 American Music Awards, a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and sold over 53 million records worldwide. As a songwriter, he’s achieved several awards, including Songwriter of the Year, and the Hitmakers Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Michael founded the Michael Bolton Charities (MBC), now in its 21st year, advocating on behalf of women and children at risk. In 2000 and 2005, he joined forces with coalitions of women’s and men’s groups, as well as members of Congress to pass, and then reauthorize, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Currently, the MBC is working on the creation of a Family Justice Center in Michael’s home state of Connecticut, as well as in Nevada, where MBC is expanding its mission. Since 1993, over $10 million has been disbursed to organizations across the country.
Mark Hogg, Founder and CEO of Louisville-based WaterStep, was selected as the 2013 Muhammad Ali Kentucky Humanitarian. Through WaterStep, Mr. Hogg’s focus is on providing solutions to the world’s water crisis, from bringing safe water to developing countries to providing water for disaster relief and emergency contingency plans in local communities. He launched his non-profit organization in 1995 as EDGE Outreach and he has since championed the cause on a global level. In 2012, Mr. Hogg refocused and grew the organization to become WaterStep in 2012. That same year, he founded IF Water, an international water conference held in conjunction with Idea Festival ® and speaks to international audiences on clean water issues.
2013 Muhammad Ali Six Core Principle Award Recipients
At 22, Tanvi is leading an internationally recognized youth organization – Becoming I Foundation – which involves hundreds of volunteers working on the ground along with a network of more 7000 young people across the globe in the areas of primary and secondary education, sex trafficking, the Right to Education, women empowerment, life skills development and youth leadership. After over five years of fieldwork and research in marginalized and low-income areas in India and a degree in Economics, Tanvi aims to bring young people face to face with community development. Tanvi recently won the Karamveer Puraskar – a National award for Justice and Citizen Action in India. To view Tanvi’s post-Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards interview, click here.
At 25 years old, Muhammed calls himself the “slum ambassador.” He was raised in an HIV-positive, Muslim, polygamous family in Bwaise, Kampala’s most notorious slum. At 10 years old, he carried garbage and sold scrap to raise his own school fees. As a young adult, he managed to find his way out of the slum and become educated; however, he never forgot where he came from and had a drive to help others escape a lifetime of poverty. When he graduated in 2009, he formed Action for Fundamental Change and Development (AFFCAD), which is mitigating the impacts of HIV/AIDS and ending poverty while promoting local self-reliance and empowering slum citizens. To view Muhammed’s post-Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards interview, click here.
Free-The-Children was founded in 1995 by twelve year old Craig Kielburger. What began as one group of 12 fellow students in Craig’s school has grown to thousands of groups across North America and beyond to become the world’s largest network of children helping children around the world. Free-The-Children’s WEDAY is the largest Youth Empowerment Cause on Facebook globally today. MEtoWE supports service leadership, empowering children of all ages to engage in both local and global action campaigns. To view Craig’s post-Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards interview, click here.
Nicholas is a fifteen-year old rising sophomore at the Wheeler School in Providence, RI. Though he began donating his gently used footwear to children in Rhode Island’s local homeless shelters when he was 5, he established the Gotta Have Sole Foundation in 2010 in an effort to give them new, properly fitting footwear. To date, he has outfitted over 10,000 homeless and disadvantaged children living in 21 states within the US with new shoes to call their own, giving them additional sizes each time their feet grow. To view Nicholas’ post-Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards interview, click here.
Zachary co-founded a nonprofit organization that conducts free sports clinics for children with special needs, and provides sensitivity training to help other students understand the challenges they face. Having a close family friend with severe autism, Zachary knew that social and athletic opportunities for children with handicaps were very limited in his community, and that these children are often ostracized by their peers. “I was disturbed seeing kids excluded from sports, lunch tables, and even friendships just because they were different,” he said. “Since sports have always been a passion of mine, I felt strongly about giving every child the opportunity to be part of a team.Zachary and his brother sought help from the board of education, local recreation departments, mayors and other community leaders, and began contacting potential donors to fund a nonprofit organization called “SNAP (Special Needs Athletic Programs).” They then set up a regular schedule of clinics in basketball, baseball, soccer, golf, tae kwon do and other activities, all run by student volunteers six nights a week during the school year. To view Zachary’s post-Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards interview, click here.
Zahra is an exceptional leader, fighting for gender equality in all aspects of Afghan society by promoting women’s sports and consistently raising the profile of Afghan women. Zahra displays extreme confidence speaking publicly to domestic and international press about Afghan women and their fight for equality. With reporters, and even the U.S. Secretary of State, Zahra confidently and honestly represents young Afghan women to the world, combining modernity with spirituality as a model Muslim athlete. In a country where women’s rights have been portrayed as contrary to Islam, Zahra pushes for equality while paying homage to her religion and culture. To view Zahra’s post-Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards interview, click here.