What is the Commission?
The Muhammad Ali Center Commission on Civility and Compassion is the world’s only commission to wield the name, influence and principles of Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest unifiers the world has ever seen.
Chaired by Lonnie Ali, wife of Muhammad Ali, together with Farah Pandith, Muhammad Ali Global Peace Laureate, and other social justice champions, we are a diverse, non-partisan commission made up of leaders in technology, politics, business and beyond.
Our mission is simple: to help unify a dangerously divided world.
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” Muhammad Ali
What is our vision?
- A world in which we are all the greatest.
- We model the moral courage, compassion and civility of Muhammad Ali.
- We are different, but united.
- We disagree well.
- When humanity is knocked down, we lift each other up.
- We fight hate, social injustice and division. Together.
What will we do and when?
We aim to disarm hate. To move with the vision and values of Muhammad Ali to create a blueprint for civility and compassion in America and around the world. Our very survival depends on it.
“If you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”Muhammad Ali
As part of the Commission’s work to celebrate excellence in the field of civility and compassion, on November 5, 2022, we aim to present a new award that will honor an individual around the theme of Civility and/or Compassion that will be presented during the Ali Center’s annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards.
With a heavyweight commission of leaders in their field, we will create The Compassion Report: how we win with civility and compassion, which will provide powerful and practical solutions to the growing hate and divisions that we face in every part of our society.
The report will address the algorithms that amplify hate and fuel uncivil debate; media rhetoric that reinforces an ‘us v them’ narrative; misinformation and political polarization – and create a roadmap forwards for communities in America and around the world.
“Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
The data driven report will be delivered to the White House, state and local governments, heads of state, the United Nations, educators, youth and community groups.
On January 17, 2023, the 81st anniversary of Muhammad Ali’s birth, we aim to release the findings of the report to major US and international media, in order to amplify and influence the solutions to our divided society.
What’s the link with Muhammad Ali?
As an athlete, Muhammad Ali was a three-time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion and 1960 Olympic gold medalist. He always said that boxing was merely the vehicle that gave him the means to help others.
As Lonnie Ali says in the video:
“Muhammad knew that he wasn’t perfect. That all of us are flawed. But he treated everyone the same…with kindness. Behind all his charisma and swagger there was, well, civility and respect.” Lonnie Ali
Nothing is more important than how we treat each other.
Muhammad Ali traveled the world on missions related to peace, mutual respect and healing. He was a United Nations Messenger of Peace and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Very few people have ever transcended their careers to become a sustaining voice regarding larger societal issues.
Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest humanitarians in our history, dedicating his life to service and social justice. His life and message embodied his six core principles – confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect, and spirituality – and all our work is guided by them.
“I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world.” Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali’s principles could help heal this nation and this world. The Commission will be a blueprint to help make that happen.
What’s the background to the Commission?
The Commission is an initiative of the Muhammad Ali Center. The Muhammad Ali Center is an international cultural center and award winning museum, co-founded by Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The Ali Center, a 501(c)3 corporation, runs programming and events focused on education, racial and gender equity, and global citizenship. The Ali Center is formally associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications, and in 2020, became one of the newest stops on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail.
On September 21, 2020, the United Nations International Day of Peace, Farah Pandith was named as the first ever Muhammad Ali Global Peace Laureate. As part of this role, Farah spearheaded the establishment of the Muhammad Ali Center Commission on Civility and Compassion – working tirelessly for more than a year alongside the Ali Center leadership.
War. Gun crime. Racial injustice.
On these and almost every other social issue, division and polarization are restricting our ability to fight for the change we need.
As Lonnie Ali says in the Commission video:
The tone of the debate…the constant HATE…we need to remember how to be together, before it’s too late. Lonnie Ali
Any hope of restoring unity in a divided world, and standing up to urgent crises at home and abroad, depends on our ability to disagree well – to seek understanding and impact, not point-scoring and conflict.
We can heal as a nation and a global neighborhood. But we need solutions that will stick.
That’s where the The Muhammad Ali Center Commission on Civility and Compassion comes in.
Who is on the Commission?
Lonnie Ali, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, completed her BA degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville in 1978. After graduation, Lonnie began her business career with Kraft Foods, Inc. She continued her studies at UCLA’s Graduate School of Management and received an MBA in 1986.
After her marriage to Muhammad Ali in November 1986, she assumed responsibility and management of his business affairs. In 1992, she formally incorporated Greatest of All Time, Inc. (GOAT Inc.) to centralize and license her husband’s intellectual properties for commercial purposes. She served as Vice President and Treasurer of GOAT, Inc. until the sale of the company in 2006. During her tenure, Lonnie managed the company’s daily operations and accompanied Muhammad on business trips and humanitarian initiatives, domestically and around the world. After the sale of GOAT, Lonnie was asked to serve on the management board of the newly formed Muhammad Ali Enterprises.
In 1997, Lonnie and Muhammad helped launch the Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center (MAPC) in Phoenix. Lonnie and her husband unveiled the Muhammad and Lonnie Ali Pavilion in 2009 which houses the Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center at Barrow Neurological Institute. She and her husband opened the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville in November of 2005, where she serves as a Lifetime Director and as Vice Chair of the Center’s Board.
Lonnie has been active in various charitable causes including advocating for children’s rights and Parkinson’s disease research. From 2010 to 2013, Lonnie served on the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. Lonnie was the 2010 recipient of AARP’s Inspire Award, was named in 2012 as one of Arizona’s 48 Most Intriguing Women, and inducted into The National Consortium for Academics and Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. She has also been honored by The Foundation of Wesley Woods with the Key to a Cure Award, Child Help and the HollyRod Foundation. Lonnie has received the Keep Memory Alive Caregiver Hero Award from the Cleveland Clinic’s Keep Memory Alive Power of Love® Gala, and in 2022 the M.T. Woman of Honor Award from LIZADEEL, a Human Rights NGO operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Farah Pandith – Commissioner and Muhammad Ali Global Peace Laureate
Farah Pandith is an author, foreign policy strategist, and former diplomat. A world-leading expert and pioneer in countering violent extremism, she is a frequent media commentator and public speaker. Her book is How We Win: How Cutting-Edge Entrepreneurs, Political Visionaries, Enlightened Business Leaders, and Social Media Mavens Can Defeat the Extremist Threat. She served as a political appointee under Presidents George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, and most recently she was the first- ever Special Representative to Muslim Communities, serving both Secretaries Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. She has served on the National Security Council, at the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in various senior roles. She has also served on the Department of Homeland Security’s Advisory Council, chairing its task force on countering violent extremism.
Farah is a senior fellow with the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School as well as an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. In fall 2020, the Muhammad Ali Center named Pandith the first-ever Muhammad Ali Global Peace Laureate for her proven track record of and commitment to promoting diversity, cohesion and respect.
Trisha Prabhu – Commissioner
Trisha Prabhu is the 21-year-old inventor of ReThink™, a patented, world-acclaimed app that stops cyberbullying before the damage is done. Operating as a keyboard on mobile devices, ReThink detects offensive messages, and gives users a chance to “ReThink” sending them. Trisha’s research — which she conducted at just 13 years old — finds that over 93% of the time, ReThink works.
For her work with ReThink, Trisha was named a Google Science Fair Global Finalist, and selected to present ReThink at The White House. She is also the humble recipient of many awards; among them, the WebMD Health Hero Prodigy Award and the Princess Diana International Anti-Bullying Award. And in the business world, Trisha has made waves — as a contestant on ABC’s Shark Tank, and as the winner of Harvard University’s President’s Innovation Challenge. In 2021, she was the youngest honoree named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Social Impact list.
Trisha has delivered 60+ talks in 30 cities about the power of “ReThinking.”
Her debut book, “ReThink the Internet,” an educational guide to the Internet for youth, will be released in May 2022 from Penguin Random House.
Outside of ReThink, Trisha is also an undergraduate student at Harvard University, where she was recently named a recipient of the prestigious U.S. Rhodes Scholarship. In the fall, she will begin her postgraduate study at the University of Oxford. She plans to pursue a Master of Science in Social Science of the Internet, with a focus on studying how technologists and policymakers can tackle and eliminate mis/disinformation and hate speech online.
More Commissioners to be announced soon!
How can you be involved?
The Muhammad Ali Center Commission on Civility and Compassion is comprised of some of the world’s leading figures in business, politics, tech, media and beyond – all with a proven commitment to furthering civility and compassion.
If you know individuals or organizations that fit this description, please get in touch.
Further details about how the public can engage with the Commission will be released in the coming months.
Pledge your support
The Muhammad Ali Center Commission on Civility and Compassion has a bold and ambitious vision for our country and our world. We value working with individuals and organizations who are committed to civility and compassion, and wish to support our work.
To donate directly to the Commission, please use the following link and include ‘Muhammad Ali Center Commission on Civility and Compassion’ in the comments section:
For all donor and sponsor enquiries please contact:
Farah Pandith Muhammad Ali Global Peace Laureate firstname.lastname@example.org
For all enquiries about the Muhammad Ali Center Commission on Civility and Compassion, please contact:
Farah Pandith Muhammad Ali Global Peace Laureate email@example.com