Bayan Sohailee honoured by Chancellor as an ‘unsung hero’

Chancellor Professor Peter Shergold AC; Chancellor’s Unsung Heroes Award recipient Bayan Sohailee; and Professor Kevin Dunn, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research.

Western Sydney University congratulates student Bayan Sohailee – a winner in the recent ZEST Awards.

As part of the celebrations, Bayan received the 2021 Chancellor’s Unsung Heroes Award, which is supported by Western Sydney University’s Chancellor Professor Peter Shergold AC.

The ZEST Awards, led by the Western Sydney Community Forum, showcase the work of the community sector across Greater Western Sydney.

Bayan, who studies the Bachelor of International Studies/Bachelor of Social Science at the University, in addition to the Bachelor of Applied Leadership and Critical Thinking, was acknowledged for his extensive volunteer work, including roles with St John Ambulance Australia, Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), Multicultural Youth Ambassador with MYAN, and many other organisations.

Bayan said he felt humbled to receive the Award and was proud of his contributions as a volunteer.

“When they called my name, there were so many emotions going through my head – I felt very happy but also felt as if the other nominees were just as, or even more so, deserving of this award,” said Bayan.

“One of my proudest achievements was being recognised by the St John Ambulance volunteers as someone who has leadership qualities. They acknowledged my skills and entrusted me with the rank of corporal.”

“Through my rank, I look after and mentor 15 people in my team and it is an amazing feeling to be able to help others who were once in the same position I was in – it is very heartening to see things come full circle.”

As a talented and dedicated student from a refugee background, Bayan thanked his mentors and reflected on his dream to pursue a career in human rights.

“As a refugee, my community has done a lot for me and I believe that I always need to do something to give back to people that have done so much for me. I have also had a lot of mentors always pushing me to do great things and I want to give back to those who have been in situations similar to me,” he said.

“My degrees are very much based around politics and people; I hope, one day, to be able to use my knowledge to help those who are struggling and finding life hard, including to support my fellow Iranian compatriots.”

Bayan believes volunteering is a lifelong skill and encourages others to get involved in community groups and opportunities to give back.

“Volunteering can help you establish networks, build skills, improve self-esteem and confidence, and is a great way of giving back to your local community. If you have the time and want to volunteer, seek out opportunities and I promise you will not regret it.”

Western Sydney University also congratulates students Anna Dimo and Fadi Alubodi, who received the Unsung Heroes Highly Commended Award.


5 July 2021

Ali Sardyga, Senior Media Officer