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Sixth Annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awardees Announced: Dr. Pearse Lyons, Dave Eggers, Amy Carlson, Sister Larraine Lauter, Among Honorees; Presenters to Include Lonnie Ali, Martin Luther King, III, Juan Williams, Heather French Henry, Captain Niloofar Rahmani

Akbar Gbajabiamila to Emcee the Awards on Thursday, September 20th in Louisville, KY

Tickets Available Through September 10th

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (August 22, 2018) — Founder and president of the Kentucky-based Alltech, Inc., Dr. Pearse Lyons, will posthumously receive the prestigious Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Sixth Annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards at the Omni Louisville Hotel on September 20th. Author/publisher Dave Eggers will receive the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Education, and actress/social justice advocate/feminist Amy Carlson will be presented with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Gender Equality. Missionary/non-profit leader, Sister Larraine Lauter will receive the Muhammad Ali Kentucky Humanitarian Award.American Ninja Warrior co-host Akbar Gbajabiamila will emcee the awards. More information about each of these individuals is provided below.

The purpose of the annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards is to harness the power of the late Muhammad Ali’s legacy by recognizing individuals who are driven by a call to action to becoming change agents for the common good.  This year’s theme will be Impact.

Lonnie Ali, Co-Founder of the Muhammad Ali Center and widow of Muhammad Ali, said, “Like Muhammad, by their example these awardees serve as role models to all of us, and they help to ensure that the legacy Muhammad left on this world continues to inspire, transform, and ignite positive change for the betterment of individuals and the whole of humanity. If there was a time for the power of his example to be heeded, it is now.”

In addition to the above “seasoned” awardees, six young people, 30 years and under, will be honored with an award for each of Muhammad’s Six Core Principles: Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality. More information on these already-announced recipients is available at the bottom of this release.   Online media credential requests can be found here:

Seasoned Awardees

Dr. Pearse Lyons, Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Lifetime Achievement
(Awarded Posthumously)

In 1977, Dr. Pearse Lyons immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland with his young family — Deirdre, Aoife and Mark. His vision was to contribute to the future of a sustainable planet and leave a positive impact on, not only the environment, but the lives of consumers.  His dream came to life in his garage in 1980 with $10,000.

Alltech focuses on improving animal, crop, and human health and performance through yeast fermentation, enzyme technology, algae, and nutrigenomics. Its mission is guided by the “ACE principle” — a promise that commands a positive impact on the Animal, the Consumer, and the Environment.

Dr. Lyons built Alltech, a privately-held and family-owned business, with offices now in 100-plus countries, into the fastest-growing company in the industry. Alltech has developed promising research into human health challenges, such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, has founded multiple scholarships, education programs, competitions, the Alltech Sustainable Haiti Project, and has been a longtime supporter of the Muhammad Ali Center’s mission.

Dr. Lyons passed away on March 8, 2018.

Dave Eggers, Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Education

Dave Eggers is the author of many books, including The Circle,  The Monk of Mokha, What is the What, A Hologram for the King, and The Lifters.

Eggers is the co-founder of 826 National, a network of youth writing and tutoring centers around the United States. Numerous other organizations worldwide operate with inspiration from the 826 National model. Realizing the need for greater college access for low-income students, Eggers founded ScholarMatch, a nonprofit organization designed to connect students with resources, schools and donors to make college possible.

Eggers’s novel What Is the What, about the life of Valentino Achak Deng, a refugee from the civil war in South Sudan, which gave birth to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, run by Mr. Deng. VADF operates secondary schools in South Sudan. He also wrote the novel The Wild Things and co-wrote the screenplay Where The Wild Things Are.

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.

Amy is a social justice advocate, feminist and humanitarian, who comes from an activist family. Growing up in the Middle East, Amy spent time in refugee camps which influenced her world view.

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 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 “MeToo” movements.   Having lost her childhood friend to Me/CFS, (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) , Amy passionately advocates for 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.”

Sister Larraine Lauter, Muhammad Ali Kentucky Humanitarian

Sister Larraine Lauter is the executive lead and co-founder of Water With Blessings. 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, 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 insight, was eventually incorporated as Water With Blessings (2011), a nonprofit recognized by the PAHO Foundation with a 2014 Award of Excellence.  Sister Larraine serves as Executive Lead for the organization, which has created a global movement having helped around 74,000+ Water Women in 45 countries, supported by a great host of collaborators and supporters.


Lonnie Ali, Co-Founder of the Muhammad Ali Center, widow of Muhammad Ali, and advocate for children’s rights and Parkinson’s disease research

Juan Williams, a Panamanian-born American journalist and political analyst for Fox News Channel. At The Washington Post for 23 years, Williams has worked as an editorial writer, op-ed columnist, White House correspondent and national correspondent. Williams is the author of six books, including Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954–1965 (1987). His seventh book, What the Hell Do You Have to Lose?, will be released on September 25, 2018.

Martin Luther King III, the oldest son of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King, serves as an ambassador of his parent’s legacy of nonviolent social change. King is president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the organization co-founded by his father, and founder and president of Realizing the Dream, Inc.

Heather French Henry, Miss America in 2000, Heather has worked nationwide, developing programs and creating awareness about veteran’s issues. She founded a veteran’s foundation, authored and illustrated a series of children’s books and currently, Heather serves as the Deputy Commissioner of the KY Department of Veterans Affairs under Governor Matt Bevin. 

Captain Niloofar Rahmani, the first female fixed-wing Air Force aviator in Afghanistan's history and the first female pilot in the Afghan military since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Though her family received death threats, she persevered to complete her training and won the U.S. State Department's “International Women of Courage Award” in 2015.

Amira Ali and Nico Ali-Walsh, both grandchildren of Muhammad Ali, will serve as “Award Docents” on stage.

Previously Announced Six Core Principle Winners

Sheldon Smith, age 29, Chicago, will be honored for his Confidence working with young fathers. His organization, The Dovetail Project, helps lay the foundation to have a positive impact and build strong relationships between fathers and their children.

Kushagra Srivastava, age 23, New Delhi, India will receive the Conviction Award. He is the CEO and co-founder of Chakr Innovation and believes that a clean environment is a fundamental right of every citizen.

Lisa Curtis, age 30, California, will be honored for her Dedication to helping the women of West Africa through her company, Kuli Kuli, the first brand to introduce the green superfood, moringa, to the U.S. market.

Alexandria Lafci, age 28, United States, will receive the Giving Award for her work as a Co-Founder of New Story, an innovative nonprofit that builds homes and communities in the developing world.

Alex Holmes, age 30, United Kingdom, will receive the Respect Award for his anti-bullying program he founded through The Diana Award.

Reyna Montoya, age 27, Arizona, will be honored for her Spirituality as the founder and executive director of Aliento. She is an undocumented/DACAmented entrepreneur and community organizer, engaged in local, statewide and national platforms to advance justice for immigrant communities.

This year’s Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards are supported by: Brown-Forman, Horseshoe Southern Indiana, Tandem PR, Ashbourne Farms and River Bend Farm.

Ticket and Table Sponsors
Tickets to the awards can be purchased by September 10th t
hrough the Ali Center’s website or by contacting Erin Herbert at or 502.992.5341. For more information, visit

About the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards
The Sixth Annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards will take place on September 20th, 2018 at the Omni Louisville Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky USA. This charitable event of celebration and recognition will honor individuals around the world who have made significant contributions toward the attainment of peace, social justice, or other positive actions pertaining to human or social capital. In addition to awards presented to seasoned humanitarians, six young people, 30 years or younger, are honored with an award for each of Muhammad’s Six Core Principles: Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality. This event is the premiere annual fundraiser for the Muhammad Ali Center.