“O ye who believe! Fear Allah and let every soul look to what he has sent forth for tomorrow. Yes, fear Allah: for Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that ye do.” Qur’an 59:18
“You have but one life; it soon will be past. What you do for G-d is all that will last.” – Muhammad Ali
LOUISVILLE, Kty. – A spectacular event! Held at the Louisville Downtown Marriott in Louisville, the 2nd Annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards event was highly successful in accomplishing its goals of acknowledging, highlighting and celebrating the great humanitarian works of people across the globe that are making a difference in the world.
In speaking to the huge audience in attendance, Donald Lassere the President and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center said, “The incredible efforts of the humanitarians who were honored this year serve as a testament to the fact that one person can change the world.
“Muhammad Ali is a living example of that statement. It is our hope that these awards create a catalyst in younger generations to get out and make a difference.”
All of those 30 years and under were honored with an award that represented one of the Six Core Principles of Muhammad Ali: Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality.
Wife of the Champ and Vice Chair of the Muhammad Ali Center, Lonnie Ali said, “The Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards personify what the Ali Center stands for…. Tonight, we honored some exceptional humanitarians who are demonstrating that one person’s conscious actions can effectively change the lives of many, and ultimately transform the world.”
Muhammad Ali once said, “I’ve always wanted to be more than just a boxer. More than just the three-time heavyweight champion. I wanted to use my fame and this face that everyone knows so well, to help uplift and inspire people around the world.”
Traveling from one of those placing from around the world to attend this event was Tahir Salie, International Representative for the Two Oceans Education Foundation (2OEF), a leading education movement that provides quality education to disadvantaged learners and leaders in South Africa.
The work of the Foundation has been formally endorsed by Hi Grace Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
Integral to Tahir’s attendance was the presenting of the 2OEF’s prestigious award of “Lifetime Honorary Leadership” to Muhammad Ali, of which he asked Imam Talib Shareef, leader of the Nation’s Mosque, Masjid Muhammad in Washington, D.C., to accompany him in the presentation.
When asked why the Foundation was presenting such an award, Tahir responded, “It was an honor and a privilege for the 2OEF and we are grateful for having been given the opportunity. Muhammad Ali is such a global icon who has contributed selflessly not only to the sporting community, but to humanity at large.
“He is widely valued for the skills and talent he displayed in the ring; however his current devotion to helping promote world peace, civil rights, religious freedom, hunger relief and humanitarianism is legendary in itself.
“It is in this spirit that we at the 2OEF believe that Muhammad is a worthy recipient of this inaugural award. At the 2OEF we have a vision of developing future leaders who will excel in their respective careers but who will also dedicate their lives and learning experiences to bring about a better world, Muhammad Ali is the epitome of this vision.
“His commitment towards the uplifting of disadvantaged communities globally and Africa in particular stands out as a beacon of hope. He is indeed a genuine role model to our leaders at the 2 Oceans Education Foundation.
“He has inspired and will continue to inspire millions of people old and young around the globe to look past themselves and add value to the lives of others.”
In giving some of his thoughts on the evening, Imam Talib Shareef stated, “We thank Allah for Muhammad Ali who is such a great help to us (Muslims) and the world in his religious and his human identity.
“It was an added gift to see him, ‘The People’s Champ,’ in attendance and observing how, under the banner of his name and life’s contribution, excellence and greatness being recognized in such a diverse group of awardees, six of whom were extraordinary young people.
“Although this event received overwhelming participation, I would like to encourage more people, especially Muslims, to support this event in the future via attendance and or recommending to the organizers very special young people, under 30 years old, who are doing amazing humanitarian or social justice work; and to also at a minimum to give their support by taking out an annual membership with the Muhammad Ali Center.”
The list of receipients of the 2014 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards included: Jim Brown, who received the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award; Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon for her charitable work to include serving as an ambassador for UNICEF; international humanitarian and entrepreneur Mick Ebeling for his work as founder and CEO of Not Impossible, LLC; multiple Grammy Award-winning hip hop artist, actor, and poet Common; Kentucky humanitarians, Mr. Robert and Mrs. Deborah Blair the founders of the free, private, college preparatory, Pre-K through eighth “West End School” for young men; Jessica Matthews, age 26 of New York, for her Confidence in her role with Uncharted Play; Mario Andres Hurtado Cardozo, age 22 of Colombia, for his Conviction with his organization that promotes the right to be a conscientious objector in one of the most militarized countries in the world, while generating life-affirming, creative, nonviolent collective actions to promote peace and social justice; Kennedy Odede, age 29 of Kenya, for his Dedication working with Shining Hope for Communities; Talia Leman, age 19 from Iowa, for Giving in her role with RandomKid; Sejal Hathi, 23 from California, for Respect to recognize her work with girltank a social enterprise dedicated to socially and economically empower young women globally; Mastura Rashid, age 24 of Malaysia, for Spirituality.
“We hope the Ali Humanitarian Awards continue to inspire young people to be great and do great things. It was a privilege to be among these great humanitarians who are tomorrow’s hope.” ~ Lonnie Ali