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Ali Scholars Program

2013-2015 Muhammad Ali Scholars

 Introducing the new 2013-15 Muhammad Ali Scholars


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Ali Scholars & Staff on Retreat

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                                                                                    Ali Scholars at the Muhammad Ali Center


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                                                                                                                           Ali Scholars on Retreat


  Ali Scholars Program

The Ali Scholars Program, offered to full-time undergraduate University of Louisville students, is a unique two-year experience combining training, research and service in the areas of violence prevention, social justice and peacemaking in an urban living context. A special emphasis is placed on understanding and addressing the social conditions that impact those issues. 

Through their work with the Muhammad Ali Institute, Ali Scholars develop expertise on a topic of their choice by participating in seminars with renowned practitioners, educators and activists. The Ali Scholars employ a practical solution-based approach as they produce scholarly research related to their “expert area” and its impact locally and globally. Equipped with a solid knowledge base and organizing skills, the Ali Scholars provide service hosting on-campus events, furthering the work of the Ali Institute and working alongside campus, local, national and international practitioners in their expert areas. Through the Ali Scholars program, students acquire both the intellectual and practical training to take action and leadership on issues of peace, violence prevention and social justice at home and abroad.

  Ali Scholars can expect to:

  • Spend an average of three to five hours per week devoted to Ali Scholars activities, including office hours
  • Attend seminars and training sessions designed to provide a broad-based understanding of violence prevention and social justice issues
  • Learn skills in the areas of peacemaking, violence prevention, leadership, community organizing, project development and non-profit management
  • Select an “expert area” on which to focus.  Each student will - through research, exposure to practitioners in that area and hands-on service – develop expertise in an issue of their choice related to peace and social justice.
  • Conduct research on a topic related to his/her expert area
  • Provide service to campus, local, national or international organizations and efforts related to peace and social justice
  • Design and implement a local, national or international project related to his/her expert area. Projects will incorporate the knowledge and skills gained in the program and will be done in cooperation with appropriate organizations, agencies and practitioners.
  • Travel nationally and/or internationally
  • Be recognized and celebrated for their efforts

How to Become a Muhammad Ali Scholar

The Ali Scholars Program is a two year commitment; therefore, it is only offered to full-time undergraduate students (except Ali Street Scholars) who will be able to devote four semesters to the program.  Student participants will receive a $1000 scholarship each year, for a total program scholarship of $2,000.  Ali Scholars will be required to maintain a GPA of 2.7 to be admitted to and continue in the program.

The Muhammad Ali Scholars Program recruiting process takes place January through March every other year. The process includes an application with written essays, two letters of recommendation, and an individual interview. Contact the Ali Institute for the next recruiting season.

 The International Ali Scholars Program

 The International Ali Scholars Program is a two-year special learning program for talented undergraduate students offered by the Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of Louisville in collaboration with selected colleges and universities around the world. The program offers student/scholars the opportunity to gain awareness and insight about social justice, violence prevention, and peace building and learn the skills that allow them to work for social justice locally and globally.

Participants are exposed to the most cogent theories, strategies, and practices and are able to work alongside esteemed educators, researchers and practitioners on their campus, in their local community and at participating campuses around the world. Through this experience, scholars become better trained and empowered to take individual leadership on issues of peace, violence and social justice.

Ali Scholars acquire a broad understanding of violence prevention, peace building and social justice and are guided and supported in using this understanding to develop their expertise as leaders, activists and agents for social change. Ali Scholars develop particular expertise in an area of the work that best connects to their skills, interests and abilities and conduct a project in this “expert area” that is relevant to the work of violence prevention and peace building locally and globally. 

Ali Scholars have opportunities to travel, participate in national and international conferences, as well as intern with social justice and violence prevention organizations in their local community. Scholars are connected to their counterparts at participating campuses around the world via video conferences, internet-based distance learning experiences, and an Annual Academy gathering that brings together the scholars and faculty and staff at participating universities.

The Annual Academy is held on the campus of a participating college or university and provides an important opportunity for the exchange of scholarly work, seminars on critical issues and pertinent research, skill-building/training workshops, social gatherings and cultural exchanges.

All scholarship recipients receive an annual cash stipend or tuition off-set during their two years of participation in the program. Most expenses related to the program are covered by the program. The Ali Scholars program is open to undergraduate students at participating colleges and universities who are of sophomore or junior rank, who have a record of relevant involvement in social justice work and community service and who have a demonstrated record of academic success and achievement.

 How to Become A Participating College or University

Colleges and universities wishing to develop an International Ali Scholars Program on their campus, in affiliation with the Muhammad Ali Institute at the University of Louisville, arrange for a site visit by Muhammad Ali Institute staff team, and sign the Affiliation Memorandum of Understanding. 

For more information, please contact Interim Director, Stacy Bailey-Ndiaye at 502-852-0058 or and visit our website at

Benefits of the International Ali Scholars Program

  • A deeper sense of global awareness, sensitivity, responsibility and citizenship among participating students and others who are exposed to the program through Ali Scholars activities and efforts
  • Increased international exposure for participating universities
  • Significant contributions can be made to the fields of violence prevention, peacemaking and social justice as scholars and faculty do research and create projects across international lines
  • Excellent opportunities for student and faculty exchanges
  • Students are equipped with tangible skills to prepare them to take on leadership roles at their universities, in their communities, in their countries and in the world
  • Ability to share resources and seek joint funding internationally

 Ali Scholars Africa Trip

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Senegal Trip


The Muhammad Ali Scholars spent three weeks in May on a transformational journey to Senegal, West Africa and Casablanca, Morocco.  They were on a quest to learn about social justice issues in a different cultural, social, political, and economic context.  Stay tuned for a complete report of this amazing journey!

A big thanks to Aukram Burton for providing us with great photos of this trip!


 Ali Scholars...the work must continue

 Terra Madre 2010

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I was fortunate enough to be accepted as a delegate for the Terra Madre 2010 Slow Food International conference in Turin, Italy in October.  I was part of a Food Justice Delegation representing the state of Kentucky, for my work with Louisville non-profit organization, New Roots.  Terra Madre is an international conference that brings over 5,000 delegates from all over the world that work as farmers, food producers, food activists, educators, and chefs.  There were also in attendance an incredible Youth Food Movement comprised of hundreds of young people from all over the world promoting equal rights to clean and fair food.  I am so grateful to the Muhammad Ali Institute and for Slow Food Bluegrass for supporting my trip.  I have to say it was one of the most overwhelming and enlightening experiences of my life!  I was able to speak  with delegates that are doing the most amazing work in their home countries on issues surrounding hunger, food justice, and sustainable development.  I also spoke on a food justice panel for the U.S. delegation and was able to speak about how New Roots is addressing food justice issues in Louisville, KY.  After the panel discussion, many delegates approached me with questions, advice and encouragement for New Roots, including Slow Foods USA President Josh Viertel.

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      Food justice means many things to me now, and my understanding continues to grow.  I see the connection between economic disparities; severe health disparities, environmental discrimination, and the industrial food system are all a part of the fight for social justice.  Among the most inspiring speakers were Raj Patel, Manfred Max-Neef, Alice Waters, Vandana Shiva, and Josh Viertel, as well as many, many others.  Some of the titles of discussions I attended include:  Food Policies: Social Systems and Transformations, Women's Rights and the Right to Land and Sustainable Innovations in Fighting Hunger and Poverty.

     I have definitely been inspired by my experiences at Terra Madre and look forward to using my inspiration in continuing my work with New Roots and with our new partnerships with the Muhammad Ali Institute and Wesley House. 

For more information on Terra Madre:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 -----Bristol Mann


 In the second year of their Muhammad Ali Scholars program, our students are required to incorporate what they have learned at home and abroad to create a project serving the Louisville community.  The Ali Scholars will team up with New Roots, a local non-profit organization dedicated to creating a just and thriving local food system, and Wesley House, a local social service agency, to establish an exciting new healthy food program in the community.

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 Beginning in October, the Ali Scholars will bring their talents, interests, and social justice perspective to helping Wesley House and New Roots address health disparities in low income communities by establishing a system for providing healthy affordable produce for the Lynnview, Newburg, and Okolona neighborhoods.  Wesley House Community Services provides early childhood education, youth services, job readiness, financial literacy, and home ownership, GED, and English as a Second Language classes.  More than 40% of the agency's clients are immigrants.


The project is still in the design phase and will include health education, youth and intergenerational programs, and hands on experiences such as food preparation, shopping for affordable healthy food, communal cooking and recipe swaps.  Through New Roots, participants in Wesley House programs and area residents will not only gain access to affordable locally grown fresh food, they will also explore ways to work cooperatively to buy products at a lower cost.  The Ali Scholars will play a leadership role in the community assessment,project design marketing, and implementation.  Our goal is to give the Ali Scholars the opportunity to connect the theory and practice as they work with Louisville residents to create lasting social change in their own neighborhoods.  Stay tuned for more exciting news to come!


Scholars and Ali

Senegal Powerpoint pic

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