The Minister for Education and Child Development and the Multicultural Education and Languages Committee: Award for Excellence in Languages and Cultures Award

 The Award is conducted by the Australia Day Council of South Australia and provided by the Multicultural Education Committee on behalf of the Minister for Education. This Award is presented at the Australia Day Awards Ceremony.

Nominees must be

• An Australian citizen
• 24 years or younger
• Nominated by another person or a group:
community organisation, school.


• Commitment to advocacy for a multicultural Australia
• A high degree of competence in more than one language
and culture
• Outstanding qualities, including community leadership
• The ability to operate across cultures.

Nominations for this award are now closed - stay tuned for the next nomination round!


Individuals and organisations are encouraged to submit nominations of young people who are working hard to make a difference in their communities. 

The closing date for nominations is Friday 1 December, 2017

Past Winners

The Minister for Education's Award for Excellence in Languages and Culture 2017 - commendation - Yassie Ajrish


Yassir Ajrish arrived in Australia as a refugee from Iraq seven years ago. Now at only 20 years old, he is very passionate about his work and studies and also loves to share his experiences with the wider community. Not only does he represent the Australian Refugee Association as a Youth Ambassador, he volunteers with the homework clubs and also further works as a mentor in their youth mentoring program.  Being fluent in Arabic and English and further studying French, ‘AJ’ believes it is important for people to learn many languages as it allows for the opportunity to communicate effectively and connect with as many people as possible. He also performs music from his home country with family members at various functions. ‘AJ’ also believes that with Adelaide being a multicultural city, it has given him the experiences and opportunities to get to where he is now.

The Minister for Education's Award for Excellence in Languages and Culture 2017 - Corey Kirkham 


Corey Kirkham at just 22 years of age has achieved a lot, really embracing the opportunities he has been presented with. Awarded a scholarship in 2011 to finish High School at the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West, gave Corey the chance to truly immerse himself and interact with people from many different cultures. During this time he had the opportunity to contribute to the student led cultural day celebrating the Middle Eastern, Asian and Australasian nationals. This also gave him the chance to learn Spanish which was useful in the wider community in Las Vegas and Montezuma. In 2013, after completing school he became an ESL teacher in China, teaching English to children aged from 3 to 13. Corey quickly developed his Chinese, motivated to do so knowing it would help with buying food, networking and making new friends. Currently he is completing a Bachelor of Engineering and a Bachelor of Finance as well as a Diploma in Chinese.  Whilst at university he began volunteering with the Confucius Institute, Corey has continued promoting an awareness of the Chinese language and culture here in South Australia with this initiative, attending and helping at many events. Corey’s skills in Chinese won him first place in the Chinese Bridge Competition in 2016. His involvement further inspired high school students not only in Adelaide but Australia wide. His initiative has not gone unnoticed, with Corey being invited to be the keynote speaker for the Chinese Language Teachers Association of South Australia to talk to and inspire others to showcase Chinese language and culture throughout Australia. 

The Minister for Education's Award for Excellence in Languages and Culture 2016 - commendation - Murtaza Hussani

 Murtaza and his family fled Afghanistan when he was 5 years old and settled in Australia five years ago. He is passionate about raising awareness about the refugee experience and the challenges and opportunities posed by differences in culture, education, social interaction and language. As a student leader, Murtaza coordinated multiple major fundraisers to benefit refugees including a donation of 700 cans of food for an emergency relief program and has committed a great deal of time to mentoring primary school students. Murtaza is a talented artist and has chosen to study visual arts at University, and has worked with the Australian Refugee Association to co-curate the 2015 Portrait Exhibition as well as contributing his own work towards it. 

The Minister for Education's Award for Excellence in Languages and Culture 2016 - Qasem Bahmanzadah

At just 19 years of age, Qasem has just completed his final year of a Bachelor of Aviation - impressive given his age but more so considering he lost both his parents at age seven before coming to Australia as a refugee from Afghanistan with no possessions and no grasp of the English language. Since this time Qasem has been a dedicated student but also given back to assist other refugees, including acting as an Ambassador for the Australian Refugees Association and speaking in a large range of forums to give more understanding to a wide collection of people, some of the challenges refugees face as well as being an active participant in many fundraising activities. 

For more information about this award please contact the Australia Day Council on (08) 8463 5436 or