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International Mentoring Day (Muhammad Ali’s Birthday)

The National Mentoring Partnership, the Muhammad Ali Center and Epicenter Community’s Mentoring for Change initiative, are proud to announce the Second Annual International Mentoring Day on January 17, 2017—the date which would have been the 75th birthday of boxing legend and global humanitarian Muhammad Ali.

The international and universal power of mentoring will be recognized and celebrated throughout the month of January, National Mentoring Month. The purpose of International Mentoring Day is to foster global understanding and to support the mentoring movement worldwide. It also seeks to raise awareness of the global contributions of mentoring toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

From apprenticeships to elder circles, intentional relationships have always been important in generational knowledge transfer for a society. Many cultures share this tradition. Formal and informal mentors play an important and often overlooked role in society. At a time when many people are looking for direction, International Mentoring Day will celebrate the role of mentors, by asking the world to share their ideas around mentorship and create space for an international conversation. Muhammad’s legacy will be used as further inspiration for the day and specifically his six core principles of confidence, conviction, dedication, respect, giving, and spirituality.

“Muhammad has always been a mentor to me, his family, friends, fans, and countless numbers of individuals around the world for many decades,” said Lonnie Ali, widow of Muhammad Ali.  “Mentors are special gifts to the world. They encourage, motivate, reinforce, and guide others to reach their own individual greatness. I am proud that such a significant day has been set-aside in honor of Muhammad as a way to carry forth his legacy of giving time and energy to helping others.  I am hopeful that on this day, and for years to come, ordinary people will take the first step to mentor someone who needs support, direction, and more importantly someone to simply believe in them. After all, mentors have the power to transform lives.”

Leading up to January 17, individuals and organizations are encouraged to share, through social media, photos, video, messages and stories that reflect on the real life power of mentoring and in particular: (1) what mentoring means to you in real life; and (2) how you define and describe mentoring through your experience.  Mentors and mentees are encouraged to meet and visit together in real life and to share pictures and stories reflecting on the power of this mentoring relationship.

The dialogue will be captured online through #MentorIRL and #NationalMentoringMonth and on Twitter (@MentoringDay ) and Facebook ( and on this website:

Also on this day—as well as January 14-16, the Muhammad Ali Center invites mentors and mentees to visit the Center together and receive a discounted rate.  Mentors will receive a $5 admissions rate and their mentee will be able to tour the Center for free.  Throughout the weekend, the Ali Center will also have special free events for the community which include film screenings, a special Muhammad Ali exhibit, and staff and board participation in a service project in honor of what would have been The Champ’s 75th birthday.  For more information, click here.

“It is so inspiring and invigorating to see National Mentoring Month, created nearly 15 years ago, expand globally to elevate and celebrate our common humanity and the power of relationship in our collective quest for a thriving global community,” said David Shapiro, CEO, National Mentoring Partnership. “We are so appreciative of our partners and citizens across the world demonstrating the immense impact brought through connection, and look forward to hearing their inspirational stories.”

Eli Wolff, co-founder of Epicenter Community’s Mentoring for Change initiative, and co-coordinator of International Mentoring Day says, “Mentoring contributes to the human condition, to youth development, education, employment, social change and so many areas of our world and daily lives. We are so fortunate to have had Lonnie and Muhammad Ali and the Ali Center serving as a inspiring symbols and ambassadors of the power of mentoring. We are so excited to see the second year of International Mentoring Day recognized in the United States and in all corners of the globe.”

Jeanie Kahnke, spokesperson for the Muhammad Ali Center says, “Losing Muhammad Ali over the past year surely adds even more weight to having an International Mentoring Day.   The Center is prouder than ever to be collaborating on a day that will raise awareness of Muhammad’s influence on the world as a mentor. We hope that visitors will participate in this initiative online, as well as throughout the weekend at the Ali Center.”

“Mentorship allows individuals and societies to share some of the most positive relationships they have,” says Malia Lazu co-founder of Epicenter Community’s Mentoring for Change initiative and co-coordinator of International Mentoring Day. “We have an incredible global advisory team, and we want to foster a collaborative approach to encourage diverse international networks to come together and celebrate a positive aspect of our humanity. All individuals and organizations worldwide are encouraged to join in this international effort to recognize and celebrate the power of mentoring.”

About MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership
MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership is the unifying champion for quality youth mentoring in the United States. MENTOR’s mission is to close the “mentoring gap” and ensure our nation’s young people have the support they need through quality mentoring relationships to succeed at home, school, and ultimately, work. To achieve this, MENTOR collaborates with its network of affiliate Mentoring Partnerships and works to drive the investment of time and money into high impact mentoring programs and advance quality mentoring through the development and delivery of standards, cutting-edge research and state-of-the-art tools. Connect with MENTOR on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.