Australians of the Year encourage students to aim high

  • 30 June 2023

High school students from around WA were encouraged to believe that they could be the future Prime Minister of Australia, by inspiring leaders who have been recognised in the 2023 Australian of the Year Awards.

At Auspire’s Inspiring Australians Student Forum on 28 June, year 9 and 10 students gathered at the University of Western Australia to hear from Australia’s Local Hero, Amar Singh; NSW Australian of the Year, Craig Foster AM; and WA Young Australian of the Year finalist, Zahra Al Hilaly.

man on screen

Former Socceroo and human rights activist, Craig Foster kicked things off. Streaming in from Sydney, he advised the audience to aim for something; whether that to be the Prime Minister or a teacher, “so you can be happy with what you’ve done with your life” and to not settle for anything less.

Taking hold of the mic and the students’ attention, Zahra Al Hilaly began by describing her parents’ background and her own experiences in school and how they have influenced her today – “I am a product of my parents’ resistance,” she told the audience. The youth and gender equality advocate referred to the feeling of imposter syndrome and urged the students to “have the belief that you can create transformative change” – particularly those from marginalised backgrounds and communities.

audience and speaker at event

Turbans 4 Australia founder, Amar Singh, who cheekily revealed that he was in fact expelled during his first term of school, encouraged audience members from migrant backgrounds to break the ice, say “g’day” to someone they haven’t before, tell their story and their parents’ story, and to be proud of who they are, because “we’re all individuals for a reason.”

The words of the three speakers resonated with students, with some saying that “they inspired me to look forward to my own future” and it “was an eye-opening experience.”

During the Inspiring Australians Student Forum, students were able to ask their own questions to the speakers, with the best two questions selected to receive a $50 gift voucher from event partner, Perdaman Group, to contribute towards a school project.

They also gained more information on venue partner, University of Western Australia, from UWA Chair of Guild Council, Robert Whitehurst, with some students also taking part in campus tours following the forum.

student holding microphone box

See images from the event here.

This Student Forum was proudly supported by the University of Western Australia, Perdaman Group and National Diversity and Inclusion Partner of the Australian of the Year Awards – Chevron Australia.

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