Muhammad Ali Scholars Program

21-23 Cohort

Inspired by the Greatest of All Time, the Muhammad Ali Scholars Program was created in 2004 with the goal of continuing Muhammad Ali's legacy and commitment to social justice. The Muhammad Ali Scholars Program is designed to expose students to the scholarship and best practices as it pertains to peacebuilding and conflict resolution. This unique two-year experience for undergraduate students cultivates social justice leadership development, academic research, community engagement, service. With a focus on violence prevention, this program aims to engage youth through mentoring, service, and programming. As participants in the program, scholars host on-campus and community events, further the collaborative work of the Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice and the Muhammad Ali Center, and work alongside campus, local, national, and international practitioners learning about community action to promote positive change.

Included in the program is a unique domestic and/or international learning experience exploring social justice issues in different cultural, political, social, and economic contexts. This experience blends academics and experiential learning; provides exposure to diverse community approaches to social justice and peace building; and connects students with like-minded youth leaders. Past cohorts experienced the history and culture of countries, interacted with peers at host universities, attended lectures and seminars focused on local and national issues, and participated in field visits to organizations and local projects that promote peace and justice. Participants have the opportunity to see themselves in relation to the rest of the world. Past experiences include Arizona, Belize, the Civil Rights Trail in Alabama, England, France, Ghana, Mexico, Navajo Valley (visiting a Native American Reservation), Peru, Rwanda, and Senegal.

During the second year of the program, scholars engage in dynamic community-based initiatives drawing connections between the social justice issues explored abroad and local issues in Louisville. Past projects include:

  • Ali's Grand Avenue home revitalization project

  • Change Today, Change Tomorrow's Feed the West collaboration

  • Louisville Youth Group collaboration

  • A major exhibit about Darfur, Sudan with a lecture by an internationally renowned photojournalist

  • A Peace and Justice Week

  • A health inequality and food justice project with Wesley House creating a healthy eating curriculum and a community garden

  • Partnering with New Roots to expand the “Fresh Stops” for local produce in Louisville

  • A College Readiness Video project in collaboration with Louisville’s 15,000 Degrees Initiative

  • Partnering with YouthBuild on community outreach for the Smoketown Laundromat Project

  • "The Beauty of Our Struggles" film