The trip first will take them to England for a youth conference of students from across the United Kingdom and then to Ghana to work on research projects.

We want the students to look at, study, experience and get a deep understanding of social justice and peace-building, said Stacy Bailey-Ndiaye, interim director of the Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice at UofL, which administers the scholars program.

A two-year program, Ali Scholars combines training, research and service in the areas of violence prevention, social justice and peace-building in an urban context. It places a special emphasis on understanding and addressing the social conditions that affect those issues.

Program participants begin by examining the issues on local and regional levels. As students progress and get a better understanding of the core concepts, they examine issues on a national or international level.

Participants will spend most of the 22-day trip in Ghana. Upon its arrival, the UofL group will partner with students from the University for Development Studies to do field work related to their studies. 

Amanda Simmons, a senior psychology major from Des Plaines, Ill., said she will research how  spirituality contributes to resiliency in youths from troubled areas. She said she’s looking forward to the opportunity to work with people from around the world.

I’m really interested in seeing the people and the history of Ghana, Simmons said.

The trip will be intense for students, but is also will be beneficial and eye-opening, Bailey-Ndiaye said.

Any time you can give students a window onto the world, it can be transformational, she said. It also helps them understand the United States better when they see it from a different perspective.

The trip will take the group all the way across the Ghana, Bailey-Ndiaye said.

Two professors and four students from the School of Public Health and Information Sciences; Mordean Taylor-Archer, vice provost for diversity and international affairs; a staff member from the Ali Center; and Anita Harris of anthropology, who will teach a course for the Ali Scholars during the trip, also will be on the trip. Greg Roberts, chief executive officer of the downtown Muhammad Ali Center, will join the students in England for part of the trip.

In the past, the Ali Scholars have traveled to Senegal, also in west Africa.