Gala dinner events were held in three cities of Australia last month to award Muslim high achievers who completed Year 12 at the end of 2014 academic year.
The events held in Sydney on Friday 20 March, in Adelaide on Saturday 21 March and in Melbourne on Sunday 22 March were attended by invited students and their parents as well as community leaders, teachers and politicians.
The selection criteria was based so as to award students who achieved an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, ATAR of 90 or more during the final Year 12 exam in 2014. The 106 students who registered were awarded with a certificate and a gift of tablet notebook computer.
There were a large number of awarded students who achieved an ATAR in the nineties and more than a dozen who obtained ATAR’s above 99.
The Annual Year 12 Muslim Achievement Awards are organized by Human Appeal International, a humanitarian aid organization with offices based in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. HAI has been organizing such events in Melbourne for the last 7 years and it was the first time that they decided to expand the programme to include Sydney and Adelaide.
The Sydney-based director of Human Appeal, Mr Bashar Al-Jamal said: “Education is the most powerful means by which to empower communities and thereby sustain growth and development.”
“It is for this reason that we invest heavily in supporting education and proudly celebrate academic excellence.” Mr Al-Jamal said.
The awards were sponsored by local businesses, organisations and institutions in the respective cities.
“These businesses and organisations appreciate the value of rewarding hard work and are happy to assist with these awards. We thank them for partnering with Human Appeal to honour the excellent achievements of students with the support of their families,” said Mr Al-Jamal.
The Sydney event held in Bankstown was attended by a large number of students and their proud parents who were invited to the stage for the awards and photos.
The invited chief guest Hon Tony Burke MP, federal NSW member for Watson said: “I want to honour all the families, not just the students themselves, but the parents and everybody involved in the achievements tonight. To the students, I actually believe you quite personally are uniquely positioned in our community, our country and the world to be people who can make a difference,”
The speakers also included Ms Maffaz Al-Safi, Head of School, Australian International Academy, Dr Zachariah Matthews, Deen Academy, Mr Mohammad El-Moulhy, Halal Certification Authority and Ms Aya Al-Salti (ATAR 99.6) who has commenced a double degree of BSc and Masters in Nutrition and Dietettics at the University of Sydney.
The Sydney event was also attended by the Mayor of Canterbury Brian Robson, Canterbury Councillor Khodr Saleh, Labor candidate for Bankstown Tania Mihailuk, Labor candidate (now MP) for Lakemba Jihad Dib and other community leaders.
The Melbourne event was attended by guests including Moreland Mayor Meghan Hopper, executive director of community languages Stefan Romaniw OAM and David Warner from the Western Institute of Technology while the Adelaide event was addressed by Danny Broderick representing the Mayor of West Torrens council.
Established in 1984 and operating in Australia since 1991, Human Appeal International, in addition to their humanitarian programmes internationally, also organizes Sounds of Light, Islamic entertainment events to raise funds for orphans on an annual basis.
HAI works for a number of charitable causes, specialising in areas from Social and Educational Development to Health Care and Emergency Relief. HAI’s worldwide reputation is reinforced by the fact that it holds consultative status (Category II) in the United Nations Social and Economic Council, maintains an observer capacity in IFAD (International Fund for Agriculture Development), and is a member of the International Council for Voluntary Associations (ICVA).