Luke Dowdney MBE
Luke Dowdney has been the Director of Fight for Peace since he founded the initiative in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro in 2000. Over the last 15 years Luke has worked closely with staff and the organisation’s young people to help grow Fight for Peace into an international organisation.
Dowdney was also the Founder and CEO of LUTA Sportswear, the world’s first ‘life changing sportswear,’ which donated half its profits to Fight for Peace. In 2014, Luke sold LUTA to Reebok, who now partner with Fight for Peace directly to further expand the organisation’s global reach.
Luke has a masters degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) for which he wrote his dissertation on violence and the lives of Brazilian street children. Luke is the author of Children of the Drug Trade: A case study of children in organised armed violence that focuses on the role of minors in Rio de Janeiro’s drug factions, and Neither War nor Peace which compares the armed role of children and youth in armed groups in ten non-war countries across four continents. In 2014 Luke was nominated by Edinburgh University to its Senatus Academicus and received the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa in recognition of his work.
Luke boxed as an amateur in England, Scotland and Japan, was captain of his University boxing team and in 1995 won the British Universities Light-Middleweight Championship. He went on to coach youth boxers at Fight for Peace between 2000-2013.
In June of 2004, Luke was awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II for ‘services to the prevention of child exploitation and violence in Brazil’. During 2006, Luke became an Ashoka Fellow and received an UnLtd Level 2 Award for his work as a social entrepreneur. In April 2007, Luke won the prestigious ‘Sport for Good Award’ at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Barcelona. In 2008, he was invited by Tony Blair to be an Ambassador for Beyond Sport and in 2009 Luke was made a Young Global Leader by The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, a sister organisation of the World Economic Forum.
In 2013, Luke was awarded the Beyond Sport Innovation through Sport Award. In 2014, Luke was nominated by Edinburgh University to its Senatus Academicus and received the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa in recognition of his work. In 2018, he was awarded the Jacobs Foundation Award for Social Engagement in Switzerland that included a 100,000 euro prize for Fight for Peace.