Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of Louisville

"The experience I've gotten functioning in an amulatory care setting has been invaluable. I will be a much better physician as a result." - Michael Ostapchuk, M.D.

A Word from Our Director

The pursuit of peace and justice is more important than ever as we witness challenges in the U.S. and globally.  Displaced people in Africa, the Middle East, and in the Americas directly confront violence, war and a lack of government protection on a large-scale today.  In the U.S., the demand for justice has led to closer scrutiny of law enforcement actions recognizing the disproportionate impact on marginalized communities.  We are mindful of Muhammad Ali’s legacy as a transformational humanitarian and courageous warrior for freedom, justice, and equality.  His courage, passion, and conviction inspires all of our work. 

At the Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice, we continue our work supporting a community of scholar-activists who seek to be agents of social change.  This year we honored Muhammad Ali in a series of campus and community events.  We were pleased to welcome the 2017-19 Muhammad Ali Scholars into our community and celebrate the 2015-17 Muhammad Ali Scholars at an event hosted by the Muhammad Ali Center on March 30, 2017.  We are excited about “translating research into action” through the work of our Faculty Research Group and the Institute’s involvement in the new Cooperative Consortium for Transdisciplinary Social Justice Research. We also are enthusiastic about expanding and deepening our work with community partners while remaining focused on our unique programs addressing the violence facing young people in urban areas. 


The Muhammad Ali Scholars

We would like to acknowledge and thank the 2015/2017 Muhammad Ali Scholars along with formally announcing the 2017/2019 Muhammad Ali Scholars

The outgoing Scholars pose for picture after Farewell/Induction Ceremony

2015/2017 Muhammad Ali Scholars

The 2017-2019 Muhammad Ali Scholars pose for picture after the Farewell/Induction Ceremony

Fadumo Abdullahi 
Fadumo a junior with a major in Biology and Middle East and Islamic Studies minor. She is a Woodford Porter scholar, Gates Millennium scholar, Norton Healthcare Scholar, and National Beta Club scholar. She is also immersed in our community as a volunteer and social justice advocate. As a member of the Youth Implementation Team for the Mayor’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, Fadumo offers aid to the Mayor and other community leaders in understanding the complexities of community violence around homicides, suicides, and drug overdose related deaths. Fadumo established the first Somali Student Association at the University of Louisville, and it is now an official Recognized Student Organization. 

Benjamin Anderson 
Benjamin is a senior with a major in Political Science. He is a Brown fellow as well as a Porter Scholar. Benjamin’s leadership experience has been developed by teaching English at the Iroquois Library’s weekly English Conversation Club, and, participating in the University of Louisville Service Learning Community. In addition to working at the Ekstrom Library, Benjamin has devoted the last three years to serving on the UofL Honors Student Council and helping organize events for Global Initiatives.

Destinee Germany
Destinee is a Pan-African Studies Major with a minor in Creative Writing. She has served on the Student Orientation Staff, on the Student Activities Board as Diversity Chair, and as an AVIATOR. Currently, she is a CONECT Mentor and holds a position within the Association of Black Students. Destinee is a Woodford R. Porter Scholar and Honors Scholar. She volunteers at the Louisville Central Community Center's Kid's Art Program. She will graduate in 2019 and plans to obtain her MFA in Screenwriting. Destinee's interest in social justice focuses on the oppressive nature in regards to the intersectionality of race and gender.

Mariana Juarez
Mariana is a junior, Finance and Economics Major from Simpsonville, KY. She moved from Mexico City in 2014 to be able to attend college in the U.S. During her time living in Mexico City, she realized how people in poverty situations lack opportunities that would allow them to improve their living conditions, creating a cycle from which these people cannot escape. Mariana feels passionate about helping people in poverty and wants to apply her majors to create opportunities that will give them the life they deserve. Economic disparity is her social justice area of interest.

Maria Martinez 
Maria is a junior majoring in Political Science with a double minor in Sociology and Criminal Justice. On campus, Maria is a member of the Peace and Human Rights Engagement Team. She also helps with special events with the Peace and Human Rights Engagement Team where proceeds are donated to Kentucky Refugee Ministries. Also, the Latin American and Hispanic Student organization has witnessed Maria’s volunteer efforts at various events over her UofL career thus far. Outside of UofL, Maria tutors children at the Americana Center and helps people learn English at the Iroquois Library Conversation Club on Saturdays. 

McClain Owens 
McClain is a senior taking on a double major in Women & Gender Studies and History that will combine with a minor in Spanish. McClain is a Mary Craik Scholar, Trustee Scholar, and maintains a regular occurrence on the Dean’s List. She serves in many capacities as the Vice-President for Women 4 Women Student Board. During her tenure with the UofL Service Learning Community, she volunteered at the Americana Community Center as a tutor. McClain is passionate about speaking out for her community, and cherishes building relationships with community members in person. 

Ruth Peter 
Ruth will be graduating in the class of 2020 with a major in Middle/Secondary Education. She holds membership with UofL Honor’s Society, Diversity Leadership Institute, Empowering Ladies Together and the African Student Union. Ruth is a C.O.N.N.E.C.T Mentor also served with Metro Youth Advocates as the Violence Prevention group leader. 

Niara Wakaba 
Niara is a junior who is majoring in Political Science and Economics. She is an avid volunteer and has spent time working in our community with organizations such as St. John’s Shelter for Homeless Men, the Good Will, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, and Uspiritus to name a few.  Her time at UofL has been spent working at the International Center, while maintaining her academic efforts for the Cardinal Covenant. Niara is also an esteemed Porter Scholar.

2017/2019 Muhammad Ali Scholars

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Muhammad Ali Institute

Room 280, Ekstrom Library

University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky 40292

Office Hours

M-F 8:00am to 5:00 pm

No holiday hours


tel (502) 852-6372

tel (502) 852-1493

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