19 Sep 2016: Bijay Sapkota from Nepal and Sumiya Sultan from Bangladesh are two inspiring South Asian students who have made it to the final list of the 2016 NSW International Student Awards.
The award is given annually by the NSW Government in recognition of the “extraordinary contribution” overseas students make not only to their fellow international students on campus but also to communities at large as they take up further studies at various educational institutions across New South Wales.
“International education is our largest services export worth $6.9 billion to the economy annually and last year more than 241,000 international students enrolled,” NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said in a press release yesterday.
This year’s awards are being given for the inspirational work of the finalists to “improve social justice, the lives of women and children and fundraise for overseas disasters”. Students and organisations are nominated in the categories of ‘English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students’ (ELICOS), ‘Higher Education’, ‘Schools’, ‘Vocational Education and Training’ (VET), ‘Community Engagement Business/Community Group’ and ‘Community Engagement Education Provider’.
Bijay Sapkota qualified as a finalist for the constructive role he played in bringing together the Nepalese and Australian communities. He is involved in the UTS Nepalese Society and the Help Nepal Network. He also actively participated in various fundraising programmes organised by the Non-Resident Nepalese Association in the aftermath of the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal last year, killing nearly nine thousand people. The young student is described as a born leader, committed to community engagement, and a role model for Nepalese youths studying and living in Australia.
Macquarie University student Sumiya Sultan, on the other hand, is devoted to helping others. “She is described as an outstanding ambassador for women in Engineering and Science, and for Bangladeshi women. Sumiya has worked tirelessly to raise the profile of women in Engineering, by organising a number of events, and by initiating and leading the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) initiative,” an introduction to the Bangladeshi student says in the Study Sydney website. She was recently named as one of the Top 100 Future Leaders of Australia by GradConnection.
“Being recognised empowered me to be more involved in the community and provided me with so many more opportunities in my life,” last year’s International Student of the Year Award recipient Zaki Haidari was quoted in the press statement released by the NSW Government’s Department of Premier and Cabinet.
The Awards will be given amid a ceremony at the Sydney Opera House on October 11. “This year we celebrate even more outstanding contributions made by international students to communities in NSW, and acknowledge the organisations that support international students to connect with the community,” Minister Ayres added.
Other finalists are from Spain, China, Nigeria and Indonesia.