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Grieving and Forgiveness

with Azim Khamisa

Date: February 1st, at any time

Listen to the Episode

The F Word Podcast examines the complex, messy, gripping subject of forgiveness. 

In each episode Marina Cantacuzino, a journalist and founder of The Forgiveness Project, a Charter for Compassion partner, talks to a guest who despite having experienced great pain or trauma in their life has found a way through.

Some have forgiven those who’ve harmed them, others are grappling with forgiving themselves. Not everyone is able to forgive. Not everyone has made complete peace with their past.

But all those featured on the show display a strength that has grown out of vulnerability, and they all bear witness to the human search for meaning.


Conversation with Azim Khamisa

Marina Cantacuzino talks to Azim Khamisa who founded the Tariq Khamisa Foundation after his only son, Tariq, was shot and killed while delivering pizzas in San Diego in 1995. Tariq’s killer, Tony Hicks, was 14-years-old at the time and has only recently been released from prison. Azim has spent the past 25 years talking about forgiveness and tirelessly working to prevent youth violence in America.


Background On Azim Khamisa

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 amazing choice led to the establishment of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation ( and the subsequent forgiveness movement which has reached millions. 

Azim Noordin Khamisa – an author, thought leader, peace activist, and international inspirational speaker – was born in Kenya, Africa of Eastern roots.  Azim had early training in mathematics, economics and international finance in the United Kingdom. A successful international investment banker with over 45 years of experience, he has conducted business in Africa, the Middle East, Canada, the USA, Europe, and Asia. ( 

A man always on the go, acting for societal transformation, he is the Founder and Chairperson of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation now in its 25th year (  Azim is the Co-Founder of the Constant And Never Ending Improvement (CANEI) program established in 2001 in partnership with the National Youth Advocate Program (, currently active in several cities and is in its 19th year (LINK).  He serves as Vice-Chair of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (, which studies consciousness and was founded by Edgar Mitchell, the sixth astronaut to walk on the moon, some 46 years ago. 

Committing his life to halt the continuing cycle of violence among youth, Azim became a social activist after his 20-year-old college student son Tariq was senselessly murdered while delivering pizzas in January 1995 by 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 and founded the Tariq Khamisa Foundation to break the cycle of youth violence by saving lives, empowering positive choices, and teaching the principles of nonviolence and peacemaking. Soon after establishing the foundation, Azim invited Ples Felix, Tony’s grandfather, and guardian, to join him. Together, since November 1995, the two have shared their story and message through TKF’s Peacemaker Assemblies and other programs. The duo has reached over a million elementary and middle school children and several million via video programs, guiding the youth to choose a peacemaker’s life of nonviolence and forgiveness. Tony Hicks, now 39, was released in April of 2020. Azim was at Tony’s parole hearing in November of 2018 with his daughter Tasreen Khamisa (ED of TKF) and both strongly advocated for his release. Tony won parole at this hearing, was finally released in October of 2019,  and now volunteers for TKF as a strong advocate for youth to not follow in his former footsteps. He uses his personal story of transformation, after receiving Azim’s forgiveness and learning to forgive himself, to inspire youth to choose a life of nonviolence and peacebuilding.

Azim serves and has served on the Board of Directors of various non-profit and for-profit organizations. He was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Sponsors at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Azim serves on the Board of the Institute of Noetic Sciences and is a member of the Wisdom Council of the Summer of Peace. Azim is a strong proponent of collaboration and believes that while no single nonprofit or organization has the complete solution, collectively we do. Because of his work in impacting social policy and norms, Azim is a highly regarded, respected leader and a sought-after speaker nationally and internationally. Azim has given over 1000 presentations to grade schools and university students and over 600 keynote speeches at conferences worldwide – including an audience of 300,000 at the “Stand for Children” rally in Washington D.C. in 1996. He also conducts public and corporate customized workshops and training programs to foster effective, purposeful, and impactful leadership through the process of forgiveness. Over the last 25 years of his global work, he has helped many individuals, couples, families, and management teams in both the corporate world and the nonprofit sector. 



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