Though widely controversial and outspoken in his time as a boxer, the late Muhammad Ali always wanted to amount to more than a celebrated heavy-weight champion.
Ali promoted world peace, civil rights, cross-cultural understanding, interfaith relations, humanitarianism, hunger relief, and the commonality of basic human values. He used his influence as a leader to put good back out into the world.
Despite being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 1984, Ali's work as an ambassador for peace began in 1985, when he flew to Lebanon to secure the release of four hostages. Ali also 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 so much more.
Because of his extensive philanthropic work, Ali was honored with Amnesty International's “Lifetime Achievement Award,” and he was chosen as a “United Nations Messenger of Peace.” In 2005, he was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.