By Dalen Barlow —
The Muhammad Ali Scholars Program just celebrated 10 years on U of L’s campus. In the past 10 years, scholars promoted peace and justice on this campus and around the world. The program finds its inspiration from Louisville boxing legend Muhammad Ali’s humanitarian work.
The program was created to make advancements in peace building, social justice, and violence prevention. The Ali center achieves this through educational programs, training, service and research. An integral part of the Institute for Peace and Justice are the Ali Scholars. The scholars are selected on an application bases. Students must be a full time undergraduate student of the University of Louisville. The scholars take part in many service hours through the center and develop an expert area to conduct their research.
Enid Trucios-Haynes, the new director of the Muhammad Ali Center for Peace and Justice at the University of Louisville, named international travel as one of the most exciting events to occur the past 10 years. Scholars have traveled to Belize, Ghana, England, France, Morocco, Rwanda, and Senegal.
“The international travel experiences blend academics and experiential learning and provides Ali Scholars the opportunity to learn how other communities approach social justice and peace challenges,” said Trucios-Haynes.
The scholars also work at home here in Louisville. They work in youth development programs in the city. A group of scholars created a video for Louisville youth explaining how to be successful in college and what they wish they had known before their freshman year.
“My favorite part is the outcome. Being in the program has been great. Going abroad, of course, has been the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Mahogany Mayfield, a sophomore Muhammad Ali Scholar.
“This program celebrating ten years is huge. The program is so young, but it is definitely growing, continuing to carry Ali’s legacy, inspire and educate scholars, as well as contributing to change,” says Mayfield.
Trucios-Haynes says the program shows great prospects for the future. The institute just admitted twelve new scholars after the largest round of applications in the program’s history.
Moriah Haworth, a current Muhammad Ali Scholar, stated that the program is headed towards a more academic program.
“Next year, the scholars will get college credit for the course, and hopefully in future years get certifications such as peace building.”
Haworth said that the program allows for students to work and learn in a very diverse environment and accomplish goals outside of their comfort zone.
“A lot of times during college, we tend to work with groups of people who are similar to us. The Ali Scholar program prides itself on its diversity of students in not just race, but background, religion, etc.”
Haworth also stated that students outside of the Muhammad Ali Scholars could apply to be interns at the institute and help plan and organize events.
Trucios-Haynes stated, “One of (Ali’s) quotes really illustrates our view of the institute’s work: ‘Now my life is really starting – fighting racism, fighting injustice, fighting illiteracy, fighting poverty – using the face the world knows so well and going out and fighting for the truth.’”