Key mes­sage on Har­mony Day

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Aaron Cor­lett

ABDULLAHI Alim told Wes­ley Col­lege stu­dents Aus­tralia was a salad, not a melt­ing pot, when he shared his vi­sion of an in­clu­sive and di­verse Aus­tralia dur­ing Har­mony Day.

The 2017 WA Young Aus­tralian of the Year and Man­ning res­i­dent’s mes­sage to Wes­ley Col­lege ju­nior school kids dur­ing an assem­bly on March 21 was sim­ple – em­brace our dif­fer­ences.

“I didn’t know if they would un­der­stand the com­par­i­son but I think they got it,” he said.

“The idea is that in a salad you have dif­fer­ent in­gre­di­ents that come to­gether but each part re­tains its taste and feel.”

As part of the ju­nior school’s cel­e­bra­tion of Har­mony Day, teach­ers and stu­dents dressed up in cul­tur­ally di­verse cos­tumes and there were tra­di­tional Abo­rig­i­nal dances and a conga line.

Mr Alim pre­sented Aussie of the Month awards, which is a pri­mary school-based recog­ni­tion pro­gram run by Aus­day-WA that en­cour­ages be­hav­iours across core Aus­tralian val­ues of re­spect, tol­er­ance, mate­ship and a fair go.

Mr Alim said he be­lieved Har­mony Day was a very im­por­tant cel­e­bra­tion.

“I think there should be a Har­mony Week or Har­mony Month to cel­e­brate the ways that ev­ery­one is dif­fer­ent,” he said.

Life had been very in­ter­est­ing since he won the WA Young Aus­tralian of the Year in Novem­ber.

“I’ve been able to show­case my work and ad­vo­cate at a new level,” he said. “I can spread my mes­sage about an in­clu­sive, wel­com­ing and di­verse Aus­tralia to cor­po­rate Aus­tralia. “The pop­u­lar think­ing is the best minds think alike but I don’t think they do. “I’ve been able to speak at the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum and reach pres­i­dents and prime min­is­ters.” Maria Hodges, Wes­ley Col­lege’s head of ju­nior school, said the school was thrilled to have Mr Alim at the Har­mony Day cel­e­bra­tions.

“This was a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to high­light the con­nec­tion with the Aus­tralian of the Year awards and in­spire stu­dents to aim high,” she said.

“We were ex­cited to have Abdullahi with us to cel­e­brate the mes­sage of ‘Ev­ery­one be­longs’, as com­pas­sion and re­spect for di­ver­sity are im­por­tant themes in our ju­nior school class­rooms.”

Pic­ture: Marie Nirme­mu­ni­ d467016

Abdullahi Alim with Wes­ley Col­lege stu­dents awarded Aussie of the Month: Ma­son Day, Ethan Branchi and Hunter Jones.

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