State News

September 20, 2013

Carter among Ali Humanitarian Award winners

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Former President Jimmy Carter will receive a lifetime humanitarian achievement award bearing Muhammad Ali’s name next month, headlining a list of winners that includes singers Christina Aguilera and Michael Bolton for the first-ever awards that promote achievements in the fight for social justice.

Ali, who was a three-time heavyweight champion, plans to be in his hometown of Louisville, Ky., for the presentation of the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards on Oct. 3.

The award winners were announced Thursday by the Muhammad Ali Center. The winners include a half-dozen young adults and teenagers from around the world who are being recognized for their contributions to peace, social justice and other humanitarian efforts.

Carter, the nation’s 39th president and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has crisscrossed the world since leaving the White House to promote efforts to resolve conflict, promote democracy, protect human rights and prevent disease in many of the world’s poorest countries. Carter also helps build houses for Habitat for Humanity and has authored more than two dozen books.

Aguilera, a multiple Grammy Award winner who has sold more than 43 million records, will receive the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award.

In 2010, Aguilera became an anti-hunger ambassador for the UN World Food Programme. She has raised funds and awareness for the humanitarian organization with visits to its operations in Haiti, Guatemala and most recently Rwanda.

She also has been a global advocate for fast-food company Yum Brands Inc.’s World Hunger Relief campaign to raise awareness and money to end hunger.

Bolton, another multi-award-winning performer, was chosen for the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Gender Equality.

The singer-songwriter joined with women’s groups and members of Congress to pass the Violence Against Women Act. He continues to raise awareness about domestic violence and has helped enlist other men to take up the cause of eradicating it.

Donald Lassere, president and CEO of the Ali Center, said the award winners are “bringing hope to people all around the world.”

Ali retired from boxing in 1981 and devoted himself to social causes. Ali, who is battling Parkinson’s disease, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2005.  

Meanwhile, the young adults and teenagers receiving Ali Humanitarian awards are being recognized for exemplifying six core principles espoused by the boxing great. Those principles are confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect and spirituality.

Those award winners and their categories include:

— Confidence — Tanvi Girotra, 22, of India, who leads a global youth organization that promotes education, combats sex trafficking and strives to empower women. Her group also works to involve young people in community development.

— Conviction — Muhammed Kisirisa, 25, of Uganda, who formed an anti-poverty organization that promotes self-reliance and strives to empower people living in impoverished areas. In 2011 he founded a community school that educates orphans and children whose families are touched by HIV and AIDS.

—Dedication — Craig Kielburger, 30, of Canada, who founded what has become a network of children helping children around the world. He founded the group Free The Children in 1995 at age 12 with a group of fellow students in his school The effort has spread to thousands of groups across North America and beyond.

— Giving — Nick Lowinger, 15, began donating gently used footwear to children in his home state’s homeless shelters when he was 5. The Rhode Island youngster started the Gotta Have Sole Foundation in 2010, which has provided shoes to more than 10,000 homeless and disadvantaged children in 21 states.

— Respect — Zachary Certner, 17, of Morristown, N.J., who co-founded a nonprofit organization that conducts free sports clinics for special-needs children and sensitivity training to help other youngsters understand the challenges faced by special-needs children.

— Spirituality — Zahra Mahmoodi, 22, of Afghanistan, who fights for gender equality in her home country by promoting women’s sports. She volunteered to coach the National U-16 Soccer team and organized women’s soccer tournaments, hoping to build confidence in hundreds of young girls.

Meanwhile, Mark Hogg, founder and CEO of Louisville-based WaterStep, was selected as the Muhammad Ali Kentucky Humanitarian. Hogg will be recognized for his efforts to bring safe water to developing countries and to provide water for disaster relief.

 

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