The Centre of Islamic Thoughts and Education (CITE), University of South Australia honored Mr Salah Salman AM and Mr Mohamed Hassan OAM with a Life Achievement Award on Saturday 13 July 2019 at the Islamic Museum of Australia in Melbourne during the Gala Dinner of the 4th Annual Australian Islamic Schooling Conference.
Professor Mohamad Abdalla, Director of CITE, and Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, Grand Mufti of Australia presented the awards to Mr Salman and Mr Hassan.
The lifetime achievement award is a joint award by the Centre of Islamic Thoughts and Education and the Islamic Schools Association of Australia in recognition of a lifetime of distinguished service and contribution to Islamic Schooling in Australia.
Mr Salman has been a pioneer in the field of Islamic schooling in Australia. He is the Director General of the Australian International Academy (AIA) and has been the driving force behind the school from its earliest days over thirty years ago. His vision, passion, and willingness to innovate has made the Academy to what it is today, a leading educational institution.
Mr Hassan is the Founding Director of well established Minaret College, that was founded as Islamic College of Noble Park in Melbourne back in 1992 and now has two campuses one in Melbourne’s South East in the suburbs of Springvale and Officer currently with 1842 students and almost 300 staff.
Mr Hassan since his arrival in Australia in 1967 worked in many community and youth organisations finally devoting 25 years in the establishment of Minaret college to provide Muslim children with an environment for the preservation of their Islamic Identity by fostering in them the Islamic Values and preparing them to be model Australian Muslim citizens that participate positively in building a prosperous, harmonious and safe society.
Mr Hassan had long identified the importance and the potential of an affiliation between Islamic education/schooling and an Australian University, a vision shared and realised now.
Mr Salman, in his acceptance speech talked about the the real challenges in establishing the first Islamic school in Victoria without experience and guidelines in running Islamic schools in competition with other existing curriculums in Australia’s education.
The school went through difficult, desperate and insecure times. However, the school was very successful not only through his efforts but many who contributed towards making the school’s vision a reality.
In 1983, the first Islamic school in Victoria was established, King Khalid Islamic College of Victoria with 63 students, 3 teachers and 1 administrator and in 1988 Salah Salman was appointed Chairman of the Board and by 1989, the school reached 287 students from Prep to Grade 6.
Mr Salman and the College played a pivotal role in the establishment of a national education body to incorporate all of Australia’s Islamic schools, the Australian Council for Islamic Education in Schools (ACIES).
In 2002 the school became a pioneer in interfaith-dialogue between different faith-based schools that is still running strong today.
In 2006, the school changed its name to the Australian International Academy and opened its interstate and international campuses.
Mr Salman became a Member of the Order of Australia in 2007 for service to the community through education and fostering harmony between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Currently the Australian International Academy (AIA) has 6 campuses in two countries with a total of 3300 students.