Announcements / March 8, 2021

Announcing the 2021 National Meeting Opening Plenary Speakers

We are pleased to announce Farah Pandith and Donald Lassere as keynote speakers at the virtual Global Ties U.S. 2021 National Meeting. Their Opening Plenary conversation will explore building local and global networks to foster dialogue, uplift diverse voices, and advance social justice through civility, inclusion, and international exchange programming.

Farah Pandith is the Muhammad Ali Global Peace Laureate at the Muhammad Ali Center. She is also a foreign policy strategist, diplomat, world leader in countering violent extremism, and the author of the book, How We Win: How Cutting-Edge Entrepreneurs, Political Visionaries, Enlightened Business Leaders, and Social Media Mavens Can Defeat the Extremist Threat.

Farah has held numerous positions in government. She served as a political appointee under Presidents George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, and was our country’s first Special Representative to Muslim Communities, where she served Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. Farah also worked on the National Security Council, at the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Homeland Security’s Advisory Council, where she chaired its task force on countering violent extremism.

Donald Lassere is President and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center, where he is responsible for fostering the Center’s mission, educational programs, and outreach initiatives. His many accomplishments at the Muhammad Ali Center include launching the Muhammad Ali Global Humanitarian Awards, which seek to inspire and encourage young people worldwide to become actively involved in social justice issues that are impacting their communities, countries, and the world.
Donald also led the organization through a rebranding process and implemented a strategic plan that focuses on strengthening the Muhammad Ali Center’s education, global citizenship, and gender equality programming. More recently, he helped create the Muhammad Ali Global Peace Laureate to carry forward Muhammad Ali’s commitment to social justice and social change.

In fall 2020, the Muhammad Ali Center named Farah the first-ever Muhammad Ali Global Peace Laureate for her proven track record of, and commitment to, promoting diversity, cohesion, and respect.

The Muhammad Ali Center is a longstanding citizen diplomacy partner of the World Affairs Council of Kentucky & Southern Indiana, and regularly hosts international visitors and Global Ties Network Members, most recently in 2019 for the Diplomacy Begins Here Regional Summit focusing on the future of international education.

On March 22, Farah and Donald will discuss the creation of the Muhammad Ali Global Peace Laureate position and their work to advance inclusion, diversity, civility, and social justice locally, nationally, and globally. Hear them and other inspiring leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors at the Global Ties U.S. 2021 National Meeting.