By Ram Khatry, Sydney
12 October 2016
Two students from Nepal and Bangladesh have shared this year’s International Student Award given away amid a ceremony at the Sydney Opera House yesterday evening. Stuart Ayres, the NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events, handed out the awards under various categories that celebrate the constructive roles international students play as they take up higher education in New South Wales, Australia.
Bijay Sapkota from Nepal and Sumiya Sultan from Bangladesh co-won this year’s award under Higher Education Category, the most important of the four categories of the yearly award. None of the two inspirational youths secured a clear winning support of the “independent assessment panel”, it is understood, leading to their co-sharing the coveted prize.
“The independent assessment panel for the awards was split on awarding to either Sumiya or Bijay and the constitution allows for joint winners as has happened in the past with the community award 2 years ago being shared by City of Sydney and Redfern Legal Centre,” StudyNSW confirmed when southasia.com.au asked as to why the two South Asians ended up co-winning the award.
Bijay Sapkota was recognised for his role in “bringing together the Nepalese and Australian communities, to build connections and foster mutual understanding” while Sumiya Sultan was honoured for being “an outstanding ambassador for women in Engineering and Science, and for Bangladeshi women” and also for “devoted to helping others”.
The International Student Awards are organised by StudyNSW within the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet; they celebrate the outstanding contributions made by international students to communities in NSW. There are also corresponding organisational awards given to entities that support international students with community programs and initiatives.
The finalists for 2016 were announced on September 16 following a rigorous selection process.
StudyNSW encourages education providers to nominate a current international student who is “inspirational role model to their community” and who has “demonstrated an achievement or contribution that adds value to the community through touching the lives of others, and/or participating in the community, and /or volunteer work”.