Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards presented by Yum! Brands Foundation Honors Individuals From Around the Globe Former President Jimmy Carter, Christina Aguilera, and Michael Bolton Honored; Six Young Adults from Around the World Receive Muhammad Ali Core Principle Awards; Mark Hogg of WaterStep Receives Muhammad Ali Kentucky Humanitarian Award

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky, October 3, 2013– The Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards presented by Yum! Brands Foundation took place this evening, October 3, 2013. The awards event, which celebrated individuals who have made significant contributions toward the attainment of peace, social justice or other positive actions pertaining to human or social capital, began at 7:00pm at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, KY. Presenters included Lonnie and Muhammad Ali, Laila Ali, Donald Lassere, Special Representative to Muslim Communities Farah Pandith, Mayor Greg Fischer, Senator Rand Paul, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, and Tori Murden-McClure.

“Muhammad and I are extremely proud of the honorees at tonight’s ceremony. The four humanitarian award winners represent a generation passing on the values of compassion and concern for others on to young adults,” said Lonnie Ali. “The younger award winners have great role models in these humanitarians. Muhammad’s spirit has always inspired me to be great, and I can only imagine that it has had the same effect on the honorees.”

Muhammad Ali Humanitarian award-winners included:  Former President Jimmy Carter, singer/songwriters/humanitarians Christina Aguilera and Michael Bolton, Kentuckian Mark Hogg, and six young adults (35 and under). The Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards are unique because they were inspired by the six core principles that have guided Muhammad’s life—confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect and spirituality–and they also serve as the six pillars of The Muhammad Ali Center.

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, received the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award.  Significant accomplishments of the Carter White House administration included the Panama Canal treaties, the Camp David Accords, the treaty of peace between Egypt and Israel, the SALT II strategic arms limitation treaty with the Soviet Union, and the establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. He also was the first president to make human rights a central element of U.S. foreign policy.  Since 1982, The Carter Center has worked to resolve conflict, promote democracy, protect human rights, and prevent disease in many of the world’s poorest nations. President Carter has a longstanding agenda of pursuing peace and human rights for all people. 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. Chip Carter, Son of President Carter, accepted the award on behalf of President Carter.

Christina Aguilera – referred to by many to as the “voice of her generation” – received the first ever Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award for her work to end global hunger in her role as global spokesperson for Yum! Brands World Hunger Relief and as an “Ambassador Against Hunger” for the United Nations World Food Programme. 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.  As one of the most successful recording artists of the decade, Ms. Aguilera has sold more than 43 million records worldwide and won four Grammy Awards and one Latin Grammy Award. In 2012, she was named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People in the World. 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 effort which raises awareness, volunteerism and funds for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and others. Aguilera appears in Yum! Brands’ World Hunger Relief public service announcements, restaurant posters, and online efforts, including the campaign’s website  She also appeared in a PSA with Muhammad Ali in 2010 to help WFP Haiti earthquake relief efforts. Her efforts have helped raise millions for WFP and other hunger relief agencies.  Aguilera also serves as an “Ambassador Against Hunger” for WFP where she has traveled on relief trips with the organization to Guatemala, Haiti and Rwanda.

“I have the greatest respect for Muhammad Ali because he is such a great humanitarian and am humbled to receive such a meaningful honor for my work with Yum! Brands World Hunger Relief and the World Food Programme,” said Christina Aguilera, Global Spokesperson for Yum! Brands World Hunger Relief and “Ambassador Against Hunger” for the United Nations World Food Programme.  “With nearly 1 billion people going hungry each year, I’m proud to use my voice to raise awareness and help feed hungry women and children around the world,” said Aguilera.

Michael Bolton, multi-Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and humanitarian, received the first annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Gender Equality.   Michael has earned two Grammys for Best Pop Male Vocal, 6 American Music Awards, a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and sold over 53 million records worldwide.  As a songwriter, he’s achieved several awards, including Songwriter of the Year, and the Hitmakers Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Michael 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. Since 1993, over $10 million has been disbursed to organizations across the country.

Mark Hogg, Founder and CEO of Louisville-based WaterStep, was selected as the 2013 Muhammad Ali Kentucky Humanitarian.  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. In 2012, Mr. Hogg refocused and grew the organization to become WaterStep in 2012. That same year, he founded IF Water, an international water conference held in conjunction with Idea Festival ® and speaks to international audiences on clean water issues.

The Six Core Principle Award recipients included:

  • 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.

Donald Lassere, President and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center said, “The Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards is not only a key event that helps highlight our city and state; they represent a concrete way to raise awareness of humanitarian causes and celebrate the trailblazers who are making impactful changes in the lives of those who are under-served and need assistance of others. We are proud of these honorees and look forward to what will become an annual event.”

The Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards was emceed by Touré, co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle which airs daily at 3pm. He is also the author of “I Would Die 4 U: Why Prince Became An Icon,” and “Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? What It Means To Be Black Now,” which was named one of the Most Notable Books of 2011 by the New York Times and the Washington Post. He has published three previous books and is currently co-writing the autobiography of the legendary rapper Nas. He is a columnist for and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.

Lonnie and Muhammad Ali were in attendance. Other guests included Laila Ali, Miya Ali, Mayor Greg Fischer, Coach John Calipari, Coach Jeff Walz and the University of Louisville Women’s basketball team, Martin Andjaba, Ambassador of the Republic of Namibia to the US,  musicians C. J. Vanston, and Michael Fitzpatrick, Special Representative to Muslim Communities Farah Pandith, Chip Carter, son of President Jimmy Carter, on behalf of his father, Phil Wise of the Carter Center, Jockey Pat Day, HBO President Len Amato, Former Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown, Ambassador Shabazz, Ernie Stevens of the National Indian Gaming Association, and others.

Sponsors of the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards are:
Presenting Sponsor:  Yum! Brands, Inc.
Supporting Sponsor: Brown-Forman Corporation
Other sponsors include:

  • Ashbourne Farms
  • Horseshoe Southern Indiana
  • LG&E
  • River Bend Farm
  • Tandem Public Relations and Marketing
  • The Harold C. Schott Foundation – Francie and Tom Hiltz

About the Muhammad Ali Center
The Muhammad Ali Center, a 501(c)3 corporation, was co-founded by Muhammad Ali and his wife principles of Muhammad Ali (Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality) in ways that inspire personal and global greatness and provides programming and events around the focus areas of education, gender equity, and global citizenship. Its newest initiative, Generation Ali, fosters a new generation of leaders to contribute positively to their communities and to change the world for the better. The Center’s headquarters also contains an award-winning museum experience. For more information, please visit

About Yum! Brands World Hunger Relief
According to the United Nations, there are nearly 1 billion people around the world who are hungry.  Yum! Brands’ World Hunger Relief effort is the world’s largest private sector hunger relief initiative, spanning more than 130 countries and territories, over 39,000 KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants and nearly 1.5 million employees.  The initiative began in 2007 in an effort to raise awareness, volunteerism and funds for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and other hunger relief agencies.  Since its beginning in 2007, Yum! Brands’ World Hunger Relief effort has raised nearly $150 million for WFP and other hunger relief organizations and is helping to provide approximately 600 million meals and save the lives of millions of people in remote corners of the world.  Nearly 1.5 million of the Company’s employees, franchisees and their families have volunteered millions of hours to aid hunger relief efforts in communities worldwide.  Visit<>.

Jeanie Kahnke
Muhammad Ali Center
502.992.5301 Direct

Elizabeth Rauch
Muhammad Ali Center
502.992.5334 Direct


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