Tonight was big night for Muhammad Ali. Actually, tonight was about everyone but the man himself, because for the first time the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards and Six Core Principal awards were presented to nine others working to make the world a better place.
“Usually when I come to do something for my father it’s more about him. But this is about other people that have been inspired by him and people like him and they’re young and they’re giving back to the world,” Laila Ali, Muhammad Ali's daughter, told WFPL.
Award recipients include singer Christina Aguilera for her work on world hunger issues, singer-songwriter Michael Bolton for gender equality issues and former President Jimmy Carter was given the lifetime achievement award.
Kentuckian Mark Hogg was also awarded for his work to improve the world’s water crisis.
The idea, says Bolton, is not to acknowledge Ali’s boxing career, but his efforts as a humanitarian.
“When you see someone who has used all of their success, all of their celebrity to find a way not just to give back but to inspire the next generation or two of people to give back, he’s creating these satellites of champions of the human spirit,” he says.
So let's take a look at this year's winners, as provided by the Muhammad Ali Center:
Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award: Jimmy Carter, the nation’s 39th president, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, co-founder of the nongovernmental, not-for-profit Carter Center, devoted to advancing human rights and alleviating human suffering. He and Muhammad Ali have a history together, for in 1980, President Carter appointed Ali as a special envoy to Africa to lobby for a boycott of the Moscow Olympics following Russia’s military intervention in Afghanistan.
Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award: Christina Aguilera, referred to by many to as the “voice of her generation.” Ms. Aguilera is an acclaimed American singer/ songwriter who has developed a strong following over the past decade for her musical versatility and her deep dedication to philanthropic causes. Since 2009, Ms. Aguilera has demonstrated her strong commitment to world hunger issues through her role as global spokesperson for Yum! Brands’ World Hunger Relief, a global movement and campaign to raise awareness and funds to end hunger.
Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Gender Equality: Michael Bolton, multi-Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and humanitarian. Bolton founded the Michael Bolton Charities (MBC), now in its 21st year, advocating on behalf of women and children at risk. In 2000 and 2005, he joined forces with coalitions of women’s and men’s groups, as well as members of Congress to pass, and then reauthorize, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Currently, the MBC is working on the creation of a Family Justice Center in Michael’s home state of Connecticut, as well as in Nevada, where MBC is expanding its mission.
Muhammad Ali 2013 Kentucky Humanitarian: Mark Hogg, Founder and CEO of Louisville-based WaterStep. Through WaterStep, Mr. Hogg’s focus is on providing solutions to the world’s water crisis, from bringing safe water to developing countries to providing water for disaster relief and emergency contingency plans in local communities. He launched his non-profit organization in 1995 as EDGE Outreach and he has since championed the cause on a global level.
The Six Core Principle Award Recipients and Their Categories Are:
- 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 that involved 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, of Providence, R.I., began donating gently used footwear to children in his home state's homeless shelters when he was 5. He 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.