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Humanitarian Work Continues for Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award Winner Zahra MahmoodiSalem-News.com
Mahmoodi honored for Spirituality by bridging cultural divide through sports
(LOUISVILLE) - Zahra Mahmoodi of Afghanistan recently was honored with the Spirituality Award at the 2013 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards in Louisville, KY, USA for her work toward gender equality in her home country. The Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards were created to celebrate the greatness of people around the world who are making differences in the areas of social justice and peace. Zahra was one of six young people, age 30 and under, who were honored for their contributions to their communities and the world. Each of these six winners was honored for one of Muhammad Ali’s Six Core Principles: Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Respect, Giving, and Spirituality. In addition, four seasoned humanitarians, including President Jimmy Carter, Michael Bolton, Christina Aguilera, and founder of Kentucky’s own WaterStep, Mark Hogg, received awards.
Zahra is an exceptional leader, fighting for gender equality in all aspects of Afghan society by promoting women’s sports and consistently raising the profile of Afghan women through speaking engagements and other public presentations. Zahra confidently and honestly represents young Afghan women to the world, combining modernity with spirituality as a model Muslim athlete. In a country where women’s rights have been portrayed as contrary to Islam, Zahra pushes for equality while paying homage to her religion and culture. Zahra has the conviction and uses her influence to benefit all Afghan women, not just athletes, turning press inquiries into opportunities to discuss broader policies.
Zahra’s dedication to women’s sports has been evident since 2008 when she volunteered to coach the National U-16 Soccer Team and began organizing women’s soccer tournaments, building confidence in hundreds of young girls. Amplifying the impact of her giving, Zahra earns the respect of diplomats and foreign press, resulting in financial and moral support for women’s sports. Speaking with conservative parents, recruiting an ethnically diverse team, and organizing international matches, Zahra shows respect by bridging religious, ethnic, age, and cultural divides. In the coming year, Zahra plans to host a women’s soccer tournament, recruit new players, and solicit support for the construction of a women’s soccer field.
“I hope my work in Afghanistan helps all Afghan girls to experience a life full of happiness. Other people can help me by supporting Afghan female soccer players by providing essential needs and providing a suitable environment for girls to play soccer,” said Zahra. “When I met Muhammad Ali I could feel in my heart a strong positive energy transferring from him to all the people around him, including me. By receiving the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Spirituality, I feel myself more responsible about my commitments not only to my own society, but also other societies, as Muhammad Ali is a big hero for all the people around the world.”
The winners of the Six Core Principle Awards are shining representatives of Generation Ali. Inspired by the principles and the legacy of Muhammad Ali, Generation Ali represents a series of initiatives grounded in an interconnected social platform that encourages young people to find their personal "greatness" through service to others. For more information on Generation Ali, click here.
The second annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards will be held September 27, 2014 in Louisville, KY. For more information, please visit www.alicenter.org/awards or contact Jeanie Kahnke via firstname.lastname@example.org or 502.992.5301.
The Ali Center is located at 144 North Sixth Street in downtown Louisville. Parking is available on side streets or in the PARC garage located below the Ali Center. For questions, please call 502.584.9254.
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