Muhammad Ali Scholar Program

21-23 Cohort

Inspired by Muhammad Ali’s courage and commitment, the Muhammad Ali Scholars Program began with an inaugural class in 2004.  The Muhammad Ali Scholars Program is a unique two-year experience for undergraduate students providing a combination of social-justice-infused leadership development, academic research, and community engagement and service focused on violence prevention and peace building.

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 international learning experience to explore justice issues in a different cultural, political, social, and economic context.  This international experience: blends academics and experiential learning; provides an opportunity to learn how global communities approach social justice and peace challenges; and informs our students about how young leaders are promoting social change in their own countries.

Muhammad Ali Scholars learn about the history and cultural of each country, interact with their peers at a host university, attend lectures and seminars about local and national issues, and go on field visits to organizations and local projects that promote peace and justice. Students who participate have the opportunity to see themselves in relation to the rest of the world.  The Scholars have traveled to France, England, Senegal, Ghana, Belize, Peru, Rwanda and Southern Mexico.

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:

  • 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