International Peacemaker Selected for 2013 MCLP Graduation Speaker

Azim Noordin Khamisa is the inspirational keynote speaker for the MCLP class of 2013 dinner and graduation celebration to be held Saturday, April 13, 2013.  Hailed by dignitaries such as the Dalai Lama, Former President Bill Clinton and Al Gore, Azim shares a message of forgiveness, peace and hope born of personal experience. Following the loss of his only son, Tariq, in 1995 to a senseless, gang-related murder, Azim chose the path of forgiveness and compassion rather than revenge and bitterness. This courageous choice led to the establishment of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation ( and the subsequent forgiveness movement which has reached millions.

Azim Khamisa – author, activist and inspirational speaker – was born in Kenya, Africa. Trained in mathematics, economics and international finance, he became a successful international investment banker with over 35 years experience in the United States, Africa, Middle East, Europe, and Asia.

Then the unthinkable happened. In January 1995, near their home in San Diego, California,Azim’s 20-year-old son, Tariq, was senselessly murdered while delivering pizzas. His assailant was Tony Hicks, a 14-year-old gang member. Out of unspeakable grief and despair, Khamisa was inspired to transform his loss through the miraculous power of forgiveness. Believing that there were “victims at both ends of the gun,” Azim forgave Tony.

Azim then founded the Tariq Khamisa Foundation to break the cycle of youth violence by saving lives, teaching peace and planting seeds of hope in their future. A month after establishing the foundation, Azim invited Ples Felix, Tony’s grandfather and guardian, to join him. Together, since November 1995, the two have brought their story and message through TKF’s Violence Impact Forums. The duo has reached a half a million elementary and middle school children live and over 20 million via video programs, guiding the youth to choose a peacemaker’s life of non-violence. A man always on the go, taking action for societal transformation, he is presently the Chairman, CEO and Founder of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation (TKF) and the Founder and National Director of the Constant And Never Ending Improvement (CANEI) program.

“We are literally able to manifest a miracle and produce transformation in ourselves and others.”

This quote from Azim Khamisa summarizes the power of forgiveness and explains his quest for peace. Azim Khamisa personifies the vision of the Multicultural Leadership Program – that one person with vision, focus, and passion can make a transformative difference in self and the world. Because of his powerful story and message, Azim is a highly regarded and respected leader and a sought-after international speaker. Having given 400 keynote speeches all over the world – including an audience of 300,000 at the 1996 “Stand for Children” rally in Washington D.C. – Azim has received more than 60 regional, national and international awards.

Those awards include:

  • 1997 – National Crime Victims Special Community Service Award, presented by President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno
  • 2002 – “Search for Common Ground” international award for “Building Peaceful Communities,” a prestigious  award also given to Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Ted Koppel
  • 2006 – “Freedom Heroes Award”
  • 2008 – “Death Penalty Focus Award” and “The Spirit of Crazy Horse Award,” the latter received alongside Muhammad Ali
  • 2011 – “Ron Kovic Peace Prize” awarded to the film, Azim Khamisa: the Tool of Forgiveness. Presented at the MY HERO International Film Festival.

In June 2004, Azim participated in the Synthesis Dialogues with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, held at the Pope’s summer residence in Castelgandolfo, Italy. Azim’s profound work has been featured in The New York TimesOprah MagazinePeople MagazineParade MagazineWashington Post, and U.S.A. Today, as well as on NBC’s Today ShowNightly News, CBS’s Early Morning Show, and KPBS’ Fresh Air.

Tickets for the April 13, 2013 MCLP Graduation Dinner and Celebration can be purchased here.