Muhammad Ali Center celebrates 10th annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards
Awardees included KIND Bars CEO, Innocence Project co-founder, LMPD Officer, HollyRod Foundation
LOUISVILLE, KY (November 4, 2023) — The 10th annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards took place Saturday, November 4, and boasted another esteemed panel of honorees.
The Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards are the Center’s largest annual fundraiser and incorporate two categories: Seasoned Awards, honoring individuals who have dedicated a significant portion of their lives to humanitarianism, and Six Core Principles Awards, presented to young adults 30 years of age or younger.
KIND founder Daniel Lubetzky received the first-ever Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Civility & Compassion for his social entrepreneurship and empowering people to overcome extreme beliefs and division. Lubetzky, the son of a Holocaust survivor, founded the OneVoice Movement, an international grassroots effort to amplify the voices of moderate Israelis and Palestinians to resolve conflict. His other philanthropic organizations include Starts With Us, the KIND Foundation, Feed the Truth, and more. He’s also a recurring Shark on ABC’s Shark Tank.
Jason Flom received the Muhammad Ali Lifetime Achievement Award. Flom is the Founder and CEO of Lava Records,and Lava Media, LLC, and the former chairman and CEO of Atlantic Records and Virgin Records, Jason is an outspoken advocate for the wrongfully convicted. Through his work co-founding the Innocence Project and with Families Against Mandatory Minimums, he’s raised significant awareness and funds toward criminal justice reform. He hosts the hit podcast Wrongful Convictions and serves as a board member of numerous criminal justice reform organizations.
Actress Holly Robinson Peete and her husband, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, received the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award. The couple founded the HollyRod Foundation to raise awareness and provide resources to families with a loved one who has received an autism or Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis. The Peetes were inspired to start the foundation to honor Holly’s father, actor Matthew T. Robinson Jr., who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 45, and their son RJ, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. The couple works to provide compassionate care for families and empower individuals to live their best lives.
This year’s Kentuckian of the Year Award was given to Officer Nickolas Wilt of the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD), who was one of the first officers on the scene of the Old National Bank shooting earlier this year. Wilt, who was severely wounded in the incident, was motivated to join LMPD to serve and protect his community while educating and providing aid to those in need. He previously worked as a local firefighter and dispatcher, and with Oldham County EMS.
That award was presented by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear to Wilt and his brothers, who were all in attendance.
“Officer Wilt, I can never put into words just how thankful I am for you, your bravery, and your sacrifice,” Governor Beshear said. “You are a true Kentucky hero and we love you.”
Joining those Seasoned Awardees were six young international humanitarians doing work in their countries and communities which embodies one of Muhammad Ali’s Six Core Principles: Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality.
Andrew Brennen (25) became the first -ever Kentucky-native Core Principle honoree when he receives the Confidence Award for his work co-founding Kentucky Student Voice. Brennen also co-authored Kentucky HB 236, a bill vying for Kentucky student inclusion. He will be pursuing his law degree from Columbia University in the fall and is a National Geographic Society fellow.
Pashtana Durrani (25) received the Conviction Award for her courageous work as founder of LEARN Afghanistan to educate girls and women in the country. Durrani has educated 7,000 girls and boys in Kandahar and trained more than 80 teachers in digital literacy. She was previously honored by the Malala Fund and among the BBC 100 and Time 100 influence lists.
Anna Luísa Beserra Santos (25) of Brazil received the Dedication award for her work to provide safe drinking water, handwashing, and sanitation to rural families. She is the founder of Sustainable Water and Development for All and a United Nations “Young Champion of the Earth.”
Nidhi Pant (30) of India received the Giving Award. Pant is the co-founder of S4S Technologies and her work focuses on sustainability and inclusion by empowering women to be climate champions, farmers, and entrepreneurs.
Leon Ford (30) was paralyzed when he was shot by police officers during a traffic stop in Pittsburgh in 2012. He received the Respect Award to honor the work of his organization, the Hear Foundation. Through his collaboration with Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert, Ford’s Hear Foundation tackles issues of gun violence, racial justice, and police reform.
“I accept this award not just as a personal honor, but as a reminder of the work we all have before us,” Ford said. “In the spirit of Muhammad Ali, let us strive for a more just and compassionate world. Let us be champions not just in the ring of our own lives but in the arena of humanity.”
Dr. Daniel Nour (27) became the first Australian awardee when he accepts the Spirituality Award. Dr. Nour founded Street Side Medics – a mobile medical service specifically created for people experiencing homelessness.
The Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards are made possible through the generous support of Brown-Forman, as well as by travel sponsorships from Louisville Tourism and 21C Museum Hotel, and by all the corporate and individual donors who support this event.
Muhammad Ali Center
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