The Youth Award is one of 10 categories in Victoria’s Multicultural Awards for Excellence. The award recognises the outstanding contributions young people make to a diverse and inclusive Victoria. Nominations are open to individuals and community groups which support multicultural youth and promote social harmony.
- Involved in supporting youth from culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse communities
- Implemented a project or program designed to resolve an issue affecting youth in their community, or
- Actively promoting and building community understanding and engagement through various volunteering and/or paid work roles
- Individuals under 25 or community groups run by people under the age of 25
- Self-nominations are not accepted
As an Indonesian Studies student at Monash University, Sam Shlansky has created many opportunities for multicultural engagement between Indonesian students and locals and has actively supported international students to make the most of their education and experience in Victoria. Through his community work, Mr Shlansky has paid attention to two often marginalised groups: young women and people from regional areas. As president of Australia Indonesia Youth Association he worked closely with members to identify young women with leadership potential and championed them to take on larger roles. In 2017 the group piloted its regional outreach by running the Festival Bahasa dan Budaya Indonesia in Bendigo, and Mr Shlansky has successfully arranged a venue, logistics and local partners to run the festival in Warrnambool in 2018. Mr Shlansky is also involved with the Marco Polo Project, a cross-cultural education organisation, where he has risen up to play a pivotal role – engaging new partners, rebranding one of the organisation’s key projects and expanding its delivery online and into regional areas.
Twenty-three-year-old Elvis Martin is a social justice advocate with a focus on young people, mental health, homelessness and LGBTIQ+ rights. He uses his personal story of seeking protection in Australia, and the challenges he has faced along the way, to educate andinspire change on both a personal and a policy level. Mr Martin was nominated twice for a Multicultural Award for Excellence this year, with one nominator – aninternational student – writing of how he had met Mr Martin at the Study Melbourne centre where he was educating students on their rights in Australia. The student was experiencing financial hardship and was suicidal, and confided in Mr Martin, who took him to hospital, connected him to services and advocated to his university on his behalf. The other person to nominate Mr Martin noted that his previously negative perception of LGBTIQ+ people had been completely turned around by the speeches he had heard Mr Martin give to multicultural communities about LGBTIQ+ issues. Mr Martin was recently appointed as Melbourne City Council’s first ever youth advisor on homelessness and an R U OK? Ambassador.
Sajda Yasmin Yakub
Sajda Yakub is a law and commerce student at Deakin University with a long list of volunteer credentials. Using her legal studies background she has been assisting vulnerable women and young people from multicultural backgrounds by volunteering at the Women’s Legal Centre, Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre, the Islamic Council of Victoria, Amnesty International and Greater Dandenong Council. She has also volunteered at the Muslim Legal Network where she ran legal education seminars for students and professionals about family violence, family law and child protection.