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NSW rewards community involvement

International students in New South Wales, Australia, were celebrated for their achievements and contributions to the community this month, in an award ceremony hosted at the Sydney Opera House.

The awards took place at the Sydney Opera House and were presented by Minister Stuart Ayres. Photo: NSW Government

"Their presence here has strengthened our links with the international community"

Education providers nominated students for being role models or touching the lives of others in the community. The International Student of the Year award was presented to students in four different sectors: VET, ELICOS, Schools and Higher Education.

“The winners showed a selfless compassion for others, resilience, and leadership”

Ting Ting Chen from China won in the ELICOS category, with Mingjun Zhang, also from China, winning the award in the schools category.

The recipient of the higher education award was Dunya Alruhaimi from Iraq. Zaki Haidari from Afghanistan won in the VET category.

Haidi helps to support refugees coming into Australia from his home country, and is actively involved in the student community at his college.

“I believe education changes lives. Studying in Sydney, I’ve been able to help people have a brighter future,” he said in his video profile.

Nuala Myatt-Bocarro, assistant project officer in international trade and investment at the Department of Premier and Cabinet, described the event as a “real celebration”.

“It was a public acknowledgment of the finalists’ passion and commitment recognised through the positive impact they have made to their communities,” she told The PIE News.

“The winners showed a selfless compassion for others, resilience, and leadership,” she added. “Their personal attributes were also complemented by their sense of humility and simply putting ideas to action in order to help others.”

Two more awards were also presented to stakeholders in the community for their involvement with international students.

The business/community group award was won by the NSW Police Force for their international student engagement strategies.

Meanwhile, the University of Newcastle in conjunction with the Jesmond Park Uniting Church won for their “cheap chewsday” monthly community dinner.

The winners were selected by a panel of community, business and international education representatives.

Stuart Ayres, minister for trade, tourism and major events, hosted the ceremony and said the awards celebrate the long-term contribution international students make to local communities in the state.

“The benefits will continue long after tonight’s winners and finalists have returned home,” he said.

“Their presence here has strengthened our links with the international community and have no doubt created connections that will thrive over time.”

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