Dr Anthony Faucihead of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseaseswas in Louisville on Saturday to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2022 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards to Ali Center144 N Sixth St.
For nearly 40 years, Fauci has led America’s fight against infectious diseases, including the COVID-19 virus and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
“The idea of getting an award named after someone who inspires me tremendously because of the fundamentals of how he lives his life is very important to me,” Fauci told the Courier Journal. “I am in a difficult position at the moment. On the one hand I am admired and on the other I am demolished. It gives me strength to have a role model in Muhammad Ali.”
The annual awards ceremony is the Muhammad Ali Center’s largest fundraiser and honors those who have dedicated a portion of their lives to humanitarian and a multitude of philanthropic causes.
Fauci is the government’s top infectious disease expert. He will leave his post in December, ending decades of federal service crowned with a pandemic. While accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award, the 81-year-old called on guests to continue working together to control the spread of the virus.
“There’s so much misinformation out there right now. Reality is being distorted and truths are going out the window,” Fauci said. “I want to call on people across the country and around the world to come back together against this epidemic instead of fighting against each other.”
Other winners include World Central Cuisinewho won the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award for his disaster relief work in western Kentucky after tornadoes devastated the area last December as well as the recent floods which communities wiped out in eastern Kentucky.
The “Kentucky Humanitarian Award” was presented to Alice Houston, a businesswoman and philanthropist who was also quoted in Louisville Business First’s “Power 50“earlier this year.
Six other laureates were recognized at Saturday’s ceremony for embodying Muhammad Ali’s six core principles: Trust, Belief, Dedication, Giving, Respect and Spirituality. These winners include:
- Trust Award winner Gitanjali Rao, a 17-year-old from Louisville was named Child of the Year by Time Magazine for “the inventions help detect lead in water, provide early diagnosis of prescription opioid addiction, and combat cyberbullying.”
- Lefteris Arapakis, winner of the condemnation award, from Greece, for his work in the fight against pollution in the Mediterranean Sea. Arapakis also runs an organization, Enaleia, which teaches people how to clean plastic from the sea.
- Syria Dedication Award winner Mohamad Al Jounde helped give 200 children access to education through the Gharsah school in Lebanon.
- Giving Award winner Liam Elkind, a Yale student who co-founded Invisible Hands during the COVID-19 pandemic to help ensure at-risk community members have access to food and medical supplies.
- Malcolm Brogdon, Respect Award winner, former NBA Rookie of the Year, for his work in Tanzania with the Brogdon Family Foundationthat helps people access clean water and quality education.
- Lual Mayen, recipient of the South Sudan Spirituality Prize, for his work in support of the rights of refugees and migrants. He also founded Junub Gamesan organization that teaches “the importance of peace through video games”.
“Muhammad really appreciated these awards,” said Lonnie Ali, co-founder of the Ali Center and wife of the late boxing great. “These are rare moments when the spotlight has shone on other people who walk in his humanitarian principles.”
Journalist Rae Johnson contributed to this report. Reach Features reporter Kirby Adams at [email protected]