Akram is the 2013 recipient of the Young Australian of the Year Award. He a dedicated mentor to young Indigenous people, particularly boys and young men.
Arriving in Australia 13 years ago from Afghanistan he went from being ‘an ostracised refugee kid with no prospects’ to becoming his school’s head boy. An outstanding student, he topped the tertiary entrance exam scores among his classmates. He went on to complete a triple major – in law, science and arts – at the University of Western Australia and is currently completing his post graduate studies there .
During his time at University Akram used his leadership and pastoral skills to help young people in remote and rural Western Australia. His activities have included co-founding ‘I am the other’ in 2001 set up to raise awareness about Indigenous issues in universities. His philanthropic roles have included working with True Blue Dreaming, mentoring young Indigenous people in the Looma community in the Kimberley region, mentoring primary school students in the small farming community of Wyalkatchem, in WA’s wheat belt, and supporting a Special Olympics athlete to help raise community awareness of disability issues.
Akram feels passionately about raising awareness of how social determinants influence the health and wellbeing of Western Australia boys and men and raising awareness of and creating change for men’s health and wellbeing outcomes.
Wes was born in Kalgoorlie in 1937.Wes attended Christ Church Grammar School as a boarder through 1948-50, later moving to Safety Bay and attending Fremantle Boys High School before leaving in 1952 to take up a 5-year apprenticeship as a Tractor Fitter with the Public Works Department. At the completion of his apprenticeship, he obtained the position of Service Manager with Wearne Brothers in Malaysia, an executive position he held for 12 years.
Following this, Wes held numerous professional roles with Atwood Motors, and the Fire and Rescue Service who he was with for 23 years prior to retirement.
In addition to his initial professional career Was has pursued his interest in men’s health and wellbeing since the early 80s. He has extensively and broadly trained in and experienced many therapy and self-discovery approaches and has organised, participated in, facilitated and lead men’s groups for over 35 years. Hhis many achievements in this space include initiating the Compass Men’s Support group, founded the MensWork Project, coordinated the Fathers-Day Project, founded the Men’s Health and Wellbeing Association (WA) Inc, initiated and facilitated many mixed gender community groups including, Becoming Bolder Instead Of Older, Writing Your Story – Writing Your Life, Secret Men’s Business for Women only, Secret Old Blokes Business, Before You Go, Exploring Your Social Atom and many other small groups as part of self-development programs for people in the general community.
Wes is widely respected in the Australian men’s movement and played a key role in the Australian and New Zealand Men’s Leadership annual Gatherings. He was responsible for coordinating the 10th annual ANZML Gathering in Perth in March 2001 and the 2012 5th National Elders Gathering held in Perth.
Since 2004 Wes has been organising and co-facilitating the Men In Bali Retreats, and in June 2015 received the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his dedicated contribution to the health and wellbeing of men in WA.
All of Wes’ highs and lows have given him the strength, courage and conviction to want to continue working with people and make available his own life stories as part of a universal human journey. He continues to maintain a healthy lifestyle and active involvement in physical, personal and spiritual development pursuits.
Antoni is a former Fremantle Dockers player and member of the senior player’s leadership group. Debuting in 1999 against the Sydney Swans at the WACA, Antoni went on to play 202 games for the Dockers over 14 seasons. Antoni’s distinguished career earnt him Life Membership of the Fremantle Football Club and recognition as an AFL 200 Club Member.
Currently an Aboriginal Sports Development Officer at the Western Australian Department of Sport and Recreation, Antoni has previously been a Youth Mentor at the Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug Service, and Ambassador for both the Leukaemia and Cerebral Palsy Foundations. Antoni has also maintained his connection with AFL where he has had numerous Coaching roles within the WA State Football Academy and mentors young aboriginal and non-aboriginal footballers.
Born and bred in Perth, Antoni has a strong Western Australian heritage. Growing up in the northern suburb of Balga, Antoni’s father is a Yamatji man and his mother wadjella, or white Australian, lady.
As a former professional athlete, Antoni feels fortunate to understand the importance of living an active and healthy lifestyle. Antoni has a particular interest in the health and wellbeing of Indigenous males and believes that all male youth of Western Australia need the education and support to live healthy and well lifestyles.