Fifth Annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards Showcases International Humanitarians and Ali’s Worldwide Impact

HRH Princess Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite, Patricia Arquette, Ashley Judd, Hill Harper among honorees

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky, Sept. 23, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The fifth annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards presented by Brown-Forman took place this evening at the Louisville Marriott Downtown. The fundraising gala celebrated people from around the world who are making a difference in their communities and beyond. In addition to awards given to seasoned humanitarians, six young people, age 30 and under, were honored with an award for each of Muhammad Ali’s Six Core Principles: Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality.

"The Fifth Annual Humanitarian Awards are a key milestone for the Ali Center," said Lonnie Ali, co-founder of the center. "Not only does this annual event amplify the powerful impact of Muhammad's legacy, but our awards also incentivize others to a life of service--as Muhammad and I envisioned when we helped launch the awards. Year after year, I am amazed at the quality of our awardees and the humanitarian and philanthropic work they are doing around the world.  These young people give me hope that the future of our global community will be one of promise and opportunity for everyone."​​

The 2017 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awardees:

  • HRH Princess Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite, Executive Director of the Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT), medical doctor, geneticist, and humanitarian, was honored as the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award.
  • Patricia Arquette, Academy Award-winning actress, activist, founder of GiveLove, and humanitarian, received the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Lifetime Achievement.
  • Ashley Judd, Actress, activist and Kentuckian, was presented with the Muhammad Ali Kentucky Humanitarian Award.
  • Paige Elenson, global humanitarian and founder of the Africa Yoga Project, received the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Global Citizenship.
  • Hill Harper, Actor, author, and philanthropist, entrepreneur, and founder of the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, was honored with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Education.
  • Heather Heyer, who posthumously received the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Social Justice. Heyer lost her life last month in Charlottesville, VA while fighting for her beliefs and campaigning against hate. Her mother, Susan Bro, accepted the award.

For more information about the seasoned humanitarian awardees, visit

The 2017 Muhammad Ali Six Core Principle Awardees (age 30 and under):

  • Gavin Armstrong, age 30, Toronto, Canada was honored for his Confidence in advocating against hunger and malnutrition.
  • Mohammed Ashour, age 30, Austin, Texas received the Conviction Award. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aspire, a company that develops the most advanced insect farming technology in the world.
  • John-Son Oei, age 30, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia received the Dedication Award. He is the co-founder and CEO of EPIC, a company that aims to build relationships between the urban and rural divide through the activity of building homes for underprivileged Malaysian communities.
  • Iseult Ward, age 26, Dublin, Ireland received the Giving Award. She is the co-founder and CEO of the award-winning social enterprise FoodCloud.
  • Anoop Jain, age 30, Oakland, California was honored for his Respect working on public health initiatives in India.
  • Hannah Taylor, age 21, Winnipeg, Canada received the Spirituality Award. At age 8, she founded The Ladybug Foundation, a charity that has raised millions of dollars and helped more than 65 homeless shelters and food banks across Canada.

For more information about the Six Core Principle awardees, visit

This year’s host and presenters were:

  • Michael Buffer, professional ring and sports announcer
  • Lonnie Ali, Co-Founder of the Muhammad Ali Center, widow of Muhammad Ali, and advocate for children’s rights and Parkinson’s disease research
  • Jamillah Ali-Joyce, daughter of Muhammad Ali and Illinois Secretary of State Employment Counselor in the City of Chicago
  • Mark Hogg, Founder and CEO of WaterStep, motivational speaker, and the 2013 Kentucky Muhammad Ali Humanitarian awardee
  • Donald Lassere, President and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center
  • Kevin Martinez, Vice President of Corporate Outreach for ESPN
  • Geoff Thompson, Former 5-time world karate champion, sports administrator and politician, and Founder and Executive Chair of UK-based Youth Charter
  • Ruth Riley, General Manager of the San Antonio Stars, former WNBA player, and NBA Cares Ambassador

**Previously announced presenter, Allan Houston, was unable to attend. Ruth Riley presented in his place.

This year’s performers were:

  • IMAJ, multi-talented singer-songwriter, described as a “country darling of peace and love,” who can perform in six languages.
  • The Paragon Project, a platform designed to give voice to the talented high school performing arts students, musicians, producers and poets at The Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center, a Grammy Award-winning performing arts high school in Ohio.
  • Tom Strahle, LA-based guitarist, songwriter and composer who has written with Justin Bieber, Taboo, Taylor Swift, and many others.
  • CJ Vanston, Hollywood-based film composer, record producer, songwriter, keyboardist, and music director for Spinal Tap

In addition to Brown-Forman, this year’s Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards are also supported by: Horseshoe Southern Indiana, Fusioncorp, H. C. S. Foundation, Tandem PR & Marketing, Ashbourne Farms and River Bend Farm.

About the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards

The Fifth Annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards, presented by Brown-Forman, will take place on September 23rd, 2017 at the Louisville Marriott Downtown 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.

About the Muhammad Ali Center

The Muhammad Ali Center, a 501(c)3 corporation, was co-founded by Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The international cultural center promotes the Six Core 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


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A photo accompanying this announcement is available at


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