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Alumna & scholars from South Asia recognised at StudyAdelaide awards

Posted: 10 November 2023

Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Experience, In Australia, Scholar,

Australia Awards scholars Muawiyath Mohamed Didi (Muthu) from Maldives, Md Alimuzzaman Milon from Bangladesh and Tuan Mohammed Rushdi Cassim from Sri Lanka, and alumna Saadia Adnan from Pakistan were celebrated at the 2023 StudyAdelaide International Student Awards. They were each named winner or highly commended in at least one of the categories at the awards.

The awards recognise and honour the achievements of international students studying in Australia. The three scholars received awards in the areas of academic excellence and peer support and Saadia Adnan received the Oustanding Alumni Award. Now in their 13th year, the StudyAdelaide International Student Awards are highly regarded and considered a valuable addition to the winning students’ resumes. The award program is endorsed by Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC, Governor of South Australia.

Muawiyath Mohamed Didi (Muthu) won both the 2023 Postgraduate Coursework Award and the 2023 Peer Support Award.

Muthu is currently studying a Master of Disability Policy and Practice at Flinders University. He is a disability advocate and passionate about empowering people with disability. Muthu has cerebral palsy and ADHD, and his academic journey has not always been smooth or easy. However, those early challenges only increased Muthu’s resolve to progress in his academic study and become the passionate advocate he is today. His awards reflect the way he has not only approached his studies with an unwavering determination to achieve his goals but also played a vital role in helping his peers succeed.

Muthu receiving the 2023 Postgraduate Coursework Award from South Australia’s Governor, Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC, and the Chair of StudyAdelaide, Sean Keenihan (picture credit StudyAdelaide).

“These awards, while they bear my name, are a testament to the collective spirit and relentless love of all those who stood by me, believed in me. This celebration is as much yours as it is mine. From the depths of my heart, I thank each one of you,” Muthu says. He adds that receiving two StudyAdelaide International Student Awards was unexpected, especially as the first Maldivian recipient, and thanks Flinders University and Australia Awards for their support.

Md Alimuzzaman Milon was highly commended for the 2023 Postgraduate Coursework Award.

Milon is undertaking a Master of Public Policy at Flinders University. He achieved top marks in all four of his first semester courses, reaching a remarkable GPA of 6.75 at the halfway point of his degree. Milon was motivated to pursue this course after he helped provide emergency assistance in Bangladesh during the COVID-19 pandemic. This experience highlighted the disparities in healthcare access in his country. With the knowledge he gains from his studies in Australia, Milon aims to develop a more inclusive system that ensures equitable access to quality healthcare for all in Bangladesh.

Milon receiving his award (picture credit StudyAdelaide).

Milon says that being recognised for his academic excellence at the 2023 StudyAdelaide International Student Awards was “a lifetime recognition and dream-come-true moment for me”, adding that it was “a surreal experience to hear the announcement” that he was highly commended in the category. “I am proud to uphold the image of my beloved Bangladesh in a foreign land,” Milon says.

Tuan Mohammed Rushdi Cassim was highly commended for the 2023 Peer Support Award.

Tuan is studying a Master of Disability Policy and Practice at Flinders University. One week after Tuan started his first job in Sri Lanka, he began losing his eyesight due to a genetic condition. His loss of vision meant that he was no longer able to work in an office environment. His then manager encouraged him to pursue teaching because it would allow him to continue to work while coping with his disability. This inspired Tuan to pursue training people with disability and help them develop skills to work in office environments. Tuan says, “That inner resolve shaped not just my career but my life’s mission. The conversation was more than cautionary career advice. It inspired me to turn challenges into catalysts for change.”

While studying, Tuan has continued his efforts, conducting disability awareness sessions and training people with disability on how to use assistive technology. His peers have found his initiative immensely beneficial, promoting inclusion and enhancing learning accessibility. Tuan also volunteers as a chess coach at the South Australian School for the Vision Impaired and is a proud team member of Blind Cricket South Australia.

Tuan at the awards ceremony (picture credit StudyAdelaide).

Tuan says, “I owe an immense debt of gratitude to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the entire Australia Awards team. Your unwavering belief in my vision has been a pillar of strength in my quest. I also want to thank the International Student Services team at Flinders University for giving me the platform to make a real difference. This is the first time I’ve been recognised in such a way for my passion, and it only deepens my resolve to continue making a meaningful impact.”

Saadia Adnan received the 2023 Outstanding Alumni Award

Saadia Adnan received an Australia Awards Scholarship in 2014 and completed a Master of Education (Leadership and Management) at Flinders University.

On her return to Pakistan, Saadia dedicated herself to reforming academic management and promoting research and development to improve Pakistan’s public education system. Saadia’s efforts resulted in her being given increasingly senior roles and she became the Director of Academics at the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training.

Saadia receiving her award (picture credit StudyAdelaide).

In the early stages of the COVID-19 lockdown in Pakistan, Saadia led the development of Pakistan’s first national educational TV channel, Teleschool, designed to provide learning assistance to students confined at home.  Its content was designed so it was relevant for all school age groups and demographics, regardless of their textbooks or system of education. Teleschool was launched by the then Prime Minister of Pakistan and received praise for allowing students to continue their learning during the pandemic.