The Gandhi Foundation of USA has nominated Muhammad Ali, three-time world heavyweight boxing champion, who is now a United Nations Messenger of Peace, for this year's Nobel Peace Prize. Co-nominated with Ali is Peter Georgi, Ali's former senior humanitarian advisor and co-founder along with Ali of the Children's General Assembly and its launching organisation the Children's Peace Foundation.
"You cannot find a better candidate than Muhammad Ali for the Nobel Peace Prize," said Subash Razdan, chairman of the Gandhi Foundation USA, the Atlanta-based organisation that made the nomination. "In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, if we want world peace, we must begin with children and Muhammad Ali made history when he got a voice to our children through United Nations," Razdan told India Abroad.
The nomination is based on Ali's and Georgi's years of efforts to create the Los Angeles-based Children's General Assembly, a new United Nations-authorized organisation that will allow children to promote world peace, environmental healing, sustainable development, optimisation of education, improvement of health and healthy water supplies, ways to reduce the world's mortality rate of children, remedies to the problems of hunger, malnutrition, AIDS and other diseases, illiteracy, drug abuse, and many other pressing issues that face an increasingly troubled world.
"Both Ali and Georgi worked together on this project. Needless to reiterate, Ali is recognised worldwide and identified with peace. The Nobel Committee may decide in favor of both Ali and Georgi as a team that worked for a noble cause," Razdan in response to a question. The foundation members concurred with the choice. Why does the GF believe that Ali is the best choice?
Razdan said that Ali is the most recognised person in the world and a legend at that. "The whole world loved him when he did his victory dance in the boxing arena. The world admired him when he held up the torch for 1996 Olympics in Atlanta," Razdan who is based in Atlanta, said.
"I was myself there for the opening ceremony as the attache for the Indian Olympic Contingent in Atlanta and the stadium was electrified when Ali reached the top scaffold to light the Olympic torch and declare the game open. How can I forget that night?" he said. "Ali was gutsy and raised his voice against the Vietnam war and against innocent deaths of American troops and against the casualty of innocent civilians in Vietnam. All of this in favor of peace," Razdan said in response to another question.
The Children's General Assembly of Los Angeles, California, is gathering more than 100 child ambassadors from around the world with the support of 179 governments that have unanimously approved the concept of giving children a meaningful voice in world affairs at the United Nations.
What does he think Ali can contribute to the world if he actually becomes a Nobel Peace laureate? "I pray and wish Ali gets this coveted award. He really deserves it. Even without the award, he has made his contribution to humanity. Once he does get the award, he will have that added distinction to serve humanity better," Razdan said.
To a question as to whether the GF believes that Ali in his capacity as UN Peace Messenger or in his personal life follows or supports any of the principles and beliefs that Mahatma Gandhi stood for, Razdan replied in the affirmative. "Ali has echoed the same sentiments as those of Gandhi and Martin Luther King..He is a man of peace and non-violence," he said.
Muhammad Ali, an official United Nations Messenger of Peace, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and has a long track record of promoting peace and helping children throughout the world.
The Children's Peace Foundation's Honorary Board of Advisors includes among others Elizabeth Taylor, Lionel Richie, Whoopi Goldberg, Drew Barrymore, Rod Stewart, Quincy Jones, Little Richard, Brooke Shields and many other celebrities. The Board of Advisors includes Claes Nobel, a senior member of the Nobel family of Sweden. (Courtesy: Rediff News, September 13, 2007)