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Friday, July 6, 2012

Muhammad Ali To Receive National Constitution Center's 2012 Liberty Medal


5 Jul 2012 17:30 Africa/Lagos

Muhammad Ali To Receive National Constitution Center's 2012 Liberty Medal

Ceremony culminates nationwide celebration of the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution

PHILADELPHIA, July 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the centerpiece of the nationwide celebration of the U.S. Constitution's 225th anniversary, the National Constitution Center's 2012 Liberty Medal ceremony will recognize Muhammad Ali as a champion of freedom. Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter joined National Constitution Center President and CEO David Eisner at a special announcement this afternoon, during which Liberty Medal sponsors and partners praised Muhammad Ali as a living embodiment of the Constitution who exemplifies everything the award was established to honor: individuals of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe.

Ali will receive the medal in a public ceremony on Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. at the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall in Historic Philadelphia. Action News Anchorman Jim Gardner will host the live broadcast of the Liberty Medal ceremony on WPVI-TV/6abc. The event also will be streamed live on www.6abc.com.

Ali has long served as an icon of constitutional ideals and the realization of the American dream – all the while challenging and expanding the very definition of "We the People." The Olympic gold medalist and boxing legend has been an outspoken fighter for religious and civil rights; a conscientious objector who took his battle to the Supreme Court and won; an ambassador for peace and justice worldwide; and a tireless humanitarian and philanthropist. Even as he celebrated his 70th birthday this year, Ali has continued to break new ground as an advocate for those suffering from Parkinson's disease, a disease he has battled since 1982.

Given his history of activism for the cause of freedom, Ali was selected in 1987 by the California Bicentennial Foundation for the U.S. Constitution to personify the vitality of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He was featured in the Tournament of Roses parade, launching the U.S. Constitution's 200th anniversary commemoration.

"It is very fitting that Muhammad Ali, a representative for the bicentennial of the Constitution, be awarded the prestigious Liberty Medal in 2012, as the nation celebrates the 225th anniversary of our founding document," said President Bill Clinton, Chair of the National Constitution Center. "Ali embodies the spirit of the Liberty Medal by embracing the ideals of the Constitution – freedom, self-governance, equality, and empowerment – and helping to spread them across the globe."

The Liberty Medal ceremony will mark Ali's return to the National Constitution Center. At a special Flag Day ceremony on June 14, 2003 – just before the Center's official opening – he was the first to raise the American flag that hangs in the Grand Hall Overlook and had previously flown over every state and territory capitol.

"Muhammad Ali symbolizes all that makes America great, while pushing us as a people and as a nation to be better,'" said National Constitution Center President and CEO David Eisner. "Each big fight of his life has inspired a new chapter of civic action. We look forward to welcoming him back to the Center, particularly during this momentous 225th anniversary year."

"As the Liberty Medal recipient during this historic year for the Constitution, Muhammad Ali represents how far we have come as a nation and the spirit of determination, ambition, and civic service that will propel America forward for 225 more years and beyond," said Doug DeVos, Chairman of the Center's Executive Committee.

"While many know Ali as a legendary boxer, his contributions outside of the ring carry even greater significance," Governor Tom Corbett said. "A true champion for the people, his biggest triumph lies in his legacy as a philanthropist, activist, and example of all that our Constitution represents. He is most deserving of this high honor."

"Muhammad Ali is an outstanding nominee to receive the 2012 Liberty Medal," said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. "For more than half a century, Ali has been committed to fighting for peace, justice, and civil rights for all in the spirit of this award. The City of Philadelphia, the birthplace of American liberty, is proud to host this prestigious ceremony honoring Muhammad Ali."

A descendant of pre-Civil War era American slaves, Ali grew up in the segregated South, where he experienced prejudice and discrimination firsthand. Upon returning to the United States after winning an Olympic Gold Medal in Rome in 1960, he was turned away from a "whites-only" restaurant.

In 1967, Ali refused induction into the U.S. Armed Forces due to his religious beliefs. As a result, he was arrested, fined, stripped of his boxing license and title, and found guilty of draft evasion. Though Ali was prepared to pay the price for his convictions, the Supreme Court reversed the decision in 1971, ruling that his refusal stemmed from his constitutionally protected religious beliefs. Ali regained his title in 1974 and retired from the ring in 1981.

He has since devoted his life to helping promote world peace, civil rights, cross-cultural understanding, interfaith relations, humanitarianism, hunger relief, and the commonality of basic human values. His work as an ambassador for peace began in 1985, when he flew to Lebanon to secure the release of four hostages. Ali also has made goodwill missions to Afghanistan and North Korea; delivered over $1 million in medical aid to Cuba; traveled to Iraq to secure the release of 15 United States hostages during the first Gulf War; and journeyed to South Africa to meet Nelson Mandela upon his release from prison. His recent attempt to free two American hikers held captive in Iran reinforces his tireless commitment to promoting freedom, tolerance, and humanity around the world.

Throughout his boxing career, Ali's highly publicized fights in locales such as Kinshasa, Manila, and Kuala Lumpur brought increased global attention to the developing world. Today, he continues to serve those in need overseas, providing over 232 million meals to the world's hungry. Ali has hand-delivered food and medical supplies to children in Cote D'Ivoire, Indonesia, Mexico, and Morocco, among other countries.

In addition to his international efforts, Ali is equally devoted to helping charities at home. He has visited countless numbers of soup kitchens and hospitals, and helped organizations including the Make-A-Wish-Foundation and the Special Olympics. He also annually participates in "Celebrity Fight Night," which generates funds for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Research Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.

Ali once said, "I've always wanted to be more than just a boxer. More than just the three-time heavyweight champion. I wanted to use my fame, and this face that everyone knows so well, to help uplift and inspire people around the world."

In November 2005, Ali and his wife Lonnie opened the Muhammad Ali Center in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Both an education center and museum experience, the Ali Center inspires children and adults to be as great as they can be, and encourages people around the globe to form new commitments in their lives in areas of personal growth, integrity, and respect for others.

Muhammad Ali has received some of the world's most prestigious awards. He has been honored by Amnesty International with their "Lifetime Achievement Award." Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations and former Liberty Medal recipient, bestowed him with a citation as "United Nations Messenger of Peace." Ali also was named the "International Ambassador of Jubilee 2000," a global organization dedicated to relieving debt in developing nations. In 2005, he was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The Liberty Medal was established in 1988 to commemorate the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. Given annually, the medal honors men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe. The Liberty Medal was first administered by the National Constitution Center in 2006, when Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were honored for their bipartisan humanitarian efforts on behalf of the victims of the tsunami in Southeast Asia and the hurricanes on the Gulf Coast.

Last year's medal was awarded to former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. Other past Liberty Medal winners include Nelson Mandela, Shimon Peres, Kofi Annan, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Bono. The Medal also has been awarded to organizations, including Doctors Without Borders and CNN International. Six recipients of the Medal subsequently have won the Nobel Peace Prize.

National Constitution Center Board member Ira Lubert of Independence Capital Partners will sponsor the Liberty Medal award in 2012, as he has for the past six years. Citizens Bank is underwriting the VIP Reception for the 2012 Liberty Medal. Citizens Bank has supported the Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center since 2006. Hublot, the luxury Swiss brand that brings the "Art of Fusion" to watchmaking, will celebrate the 225th anniversary of the Constitution with a limited edition "U.S. Liberty Bang" timepiece.

The City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania also support the Liberty Medal.

The National Constitution Center is the first and only nonprofit, nonpartisan institution devoted to the most powerful vision of freedom ever expressed: the U.S. Constitution. Located on Independence Mall in Historic Philadelphia, the birthplace of American freedom, the Center illuminates constitutional ideals and inspires active citizenship through a state-of-the-art museum experience, including hundreds of interactive exhibits, films and rare artifacts; must-see feature exhibitions; the internationally acclaimed, 360-degree theatrical production Freedom Rising; and the iconic Signers' Hall, where visitors can sign the Constitution alongside 42 life-size, bronze statues of the Founding Fathers. As America's forum for constitutional dialogue, the Center engages diverse, distinguished leaders of government, public policy, journalism and scholarship in timely public discussions and debates. The Center also houses the Annenberg Center for Education and Outreach, the national hub for constitutional education, which offers cutting-edge civic learning resources both onsite and online. Freedom is calling. Answer it at the National Constitution Center. For more information, call 215.409.6700 or visit www.constitutioncenter.org.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A complete list of Liberty Medal winners follows.

Past Recipients of the Liberty Medal

2011


Dr. Robert M. Gates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense

2010


Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister

2009


Steven Spielberg

2008


Mikhail Gorbachev, former Soviet leader

2007


Bono and DATA

2006


George H.W. Bush and William J. Clinton, former U.S. Presidents

2005


Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine

2004


Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan

2003


Sandra Day O'Connor, Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court

2002


Colin Powell, U.S. Secretary of State

2001


Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General*

2000


Dr. James Watson and Dr. Francis Crick, co-discoverers of the structure of DNA

1999


Kim Dae Jung, President of South Korea*

1998


Senator George J. Mitchell, Irish peace negotiator

1997


CNN International

1996


King Hussein I of Jordan and Shimon Peres, former Prime Minister of Israel

1995


Sadako Ogata, United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees

1994


Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic

1993


F.W. de Klerk, President of South Africa* and Nelson Mandela, President of the African National Congress*

1992


Thurgood Marshall, former Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court

1991


Oscar Arias, President of Costa Rica and Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders)*

1990


Jimmy Carter, former U.S. President*

1989


Lech Walesa, founder of Solidarity, Poland

* Liberty Medal recipients who subsequently won the Nobel Peace Prize

SOURCE National Constitution Center
CONTACT: Ashley Berke, Director of Public Relations, +1-215-409-6693, aberke@constutioncenter.org; Lauren Saul, Public Relations Manager, +1-215-409-6895, lsaul@constitutioncenter.org

Web Site: http://www.constitutioncenter.org


2 Jul 2012 23:49 Africa/Lagos

Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center Receives Largest Gift in Its History
Celebrity Fight Night Donates $3 million


PHOENIX, July 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix has received a $3 million donation from Celebrity Fight Night that will be used to help dramatically expand the renowned facility and its programs.

Dozens of doctors, patients and staff applauded as Abraham Lieberman, MD, the center's director, personally received the donation recently from Jimmy Walker, founder of Celebrity Fight Night. Since the annual charity event began 18 years ago, it has contributed more than $22 million to the Center. Today's gift was the single largest ever received by the Ali center.

Dr. Lieberman said the funds would be used to more than double the current size of the facility. The expansion will include new clinical areas, physical and speech therapy areas and community education meeting rooms.

The current Ali center was opened in December 2010 on the campus of Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital. It is one of the most comprehensive Parkinson's treatment centers in the world, coordinating patient care, physical therapy, pharmaceutical and surgical care, research, and patient education and outreach. The Center has been designated a Center of Excellence by the National Parkinson Foundation. At an inspiring 2010 event, Muhammad Ali and his wife, Lonnie, officially opened the new treatment center in downtown Phoenix.

"Thanks to the donations from Celebrity Fight Night, we continue to increase the numbers of patients we see, as well as the number of people who come to the Center for our education and social programs," said Dr. Lieberman. "We have also increased our ability to develop new drugs and treatments for Parkinson's disease."

Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1984 and today Celebrity Fight Night is his signature event. "We are proud that Celebrity Fight Night continues to grow and succeed every year. Because of its remarkable success we are able to make this large donation," says Sean Currie, executive director of the star-studded charity event. "Thanks to the participation of many of today's biggest stars from around the country, as well as some of the nation's biggest philanthropists, the annual event gets bigger and better every year."

-Barrow-

About Barrow: Barrow Neurological Institute of St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, is internationally recognized as a leader in neurological research and patient care and is consistently voted as among the Top 10 hospitals for neurology and neurology in the United States. Barrow treats patients with a wide range of neurological conditions, including brain and spinal tumors, cerebrovascular conditions, and neuromuscular disorders. Barrow's clinicians and researchers are devoted to providing excellent patient care and finding better ways to treat neurological disorders.

SOURCE St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center

CONTACT: Sara Baird, +1-602-406-3312

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