WA Young Australian of the Year shares Harmony Day vision

Somalian-born Abdullahi Alim who was named 2017 WA Young Australian of the Year posing with some young students dressed in their national costumes.
Somalian-born Abdullahi Alim who was named 2017 WA Young Australian of the Year posing with some young students dressed in their national costumes.

ABDULLAHI Alim 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: Australia is a salad and not a melting pot.

“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.”

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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 AusdayWA that encourages behaviours across core Australian values of respect, tolerance, mateship and fair-go.

Wesley College head of junior school Maria Hodges 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.”

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 to at the World Economic Forum and reach presidents and prime ministers.”