Shown here is UN “ Messenger of Peace”, Muhammad Ali, center, together with the young Tarumi Violinists, under the direction of Yukako Tarumi, who performed on the International Day of Peace on September 21, 2004. UN Messengers of Peace, conservationist Jane Goodall, and author/ journalist Anna Cataldi, participated in this event, as well. This photo was published in the book “The United Nations at 70. MOMENTS AND MILESTONES” (Lifetouch family of photographers) and on display in a photo exhibit at UN Headquarters documenting the history of the United Nations. UN Photo/Ki Chung.
Shown here is UN “ Messenger of Peace”, Muhammad Ali, center, together with the young Tarumi Violinists, under the direction of Yukako Tarumi, who performed on the International Day of Peace on September 21, 2004. UN Messengers of Peace, conservationist Jane Goodall, and author/ journalist Anna Cataldi, participated in this event, as well. This photo was published in the book “The United Nations at 70. MOMENTS AND MILESTONES” (Lifetouch family of photographers) and on display in a photo exhibit at UN Headquarters documenting the history of the United Nations. UN Photo/Ki Chung.
On June 4, the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, issued the following statement on the death of UN “Messenger of Peace”, Muhammad Ali:

“The Secretary-General is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Muhammad Ali. He extends his condolences to the Ali family, and the many millions of fans mourning his death in every corner of the world.”

 

Shown observing the International Day of Peace in 2015 on the far left is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, together with his wife Yoo Soon- taek and UN “Messenger of Peace”, Michael Douglas, and UN “Messenger of Peace” Jane Goodall. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement on the passing of UN “Messenger of Peace” Muhammad Ali. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz.
Shown observing the International Day of Peace in 2015 on the far left is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, together with his wife Yoo Soon- taek and UN “Messenger of Peace”, Michael Douglas, and UN “Messenger of Peace” Jane Goodall. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement on the passing of UN “Messenger of Peace” Muhammad Ali. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz.

Muhammad Ali, known for having a flair for words, was famous for the saying, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” gained worldwide recognition for his many victories as a boxer. his stand as a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, and service to everyday people.   At the age of 42, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and his life came to a close at the age of 74.

According to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,

“Mr. Ali was far more than a legendary boxer, he was a world champion for equality and peace.  With an incomparable combination of principle, charm, wit, and grace, he fought for a better world and used his platform to help lift up humanity “

Pictured is former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (on the right) pinning a peace dove on the lapel of former three time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali, proclaiming him a UN “Messenger of Peace” on September 15, 1998. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.
Pictured is former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (on the right) pinning a peace dove on the lapel of former three time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali, proclaiming him a UN “Messenger of Peace” on September 15, 1998. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.

Named a United Nations “Messenger of Peace” in 1998, Mr. Ali travelled the globe to support children and others caught up in conflict, and to promote reconciliation between people and nations. Well before taking on this role, he came to the United Nations in the 1970s to campaign against apartheid and racial injustice.

The Secretary-General was honored to join Mr. Ali as a flag bearer at the opening of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, and recalled Muhammed Ali’s strength, humour, and ability to bring people together. In his closing remarks, Ban Ki-moon said that

“the United Nations is grateful to have benefited from the life and work of one of the past century’s great humanitarians and advocates for understanding and peace. “

Known as a motivator and inspiration to many, UN “Messenger of Peace” Muhammad Ali, enjoyed the violin performances of the Tarumi Violinists, under Yukako Tarumi, shown on the far left, on the International Day of Peace, September 21, 2004. UN Photo/Ky Chung.
Known as a motivator and inspiration to many, UN “Messenger of Peace” Muhammad Ali, enjoyed the violin performances of the Tarumi Violinists, under Yukako Tarumi, shown on the far left, on the International Day of Peace, September 21, 2004. UN Photo/Ky Chung.
Ann Charles
Ann Charles is UN Bureau Chief of "Baltic Review" based in New York City. She covers diplomatic activities at United Nations Headquarters in New York and the world body's work in human rights, education, culture, the environment, and tourism, among other global concerns.