We are delighted to announce the amazing winners of the National Australian Indonesian Language Awards (NAILA) for 2016!

NAILA is a flagship initiative of AIYA which aims to reward and foster the development of Indonesian language learning in Australia at all levels. The positive response from applicants and supporters are a testament to the passion for Bahasa Indonesia that exists within the organisational committee and among Australians. Bahasa Indonesia is the gateway through which Australians can obtain a deeper understanding of Indonesia, and we believe that NAILA goes a long way in promoting the value of those language skills.

Congratulations to the winners, and to everyone who entered the competition.

Precious Lundberg: Primary Awardee $300

image1Precious Lundberg is a year-six student. She currently attends East Manjimup Primary School in rural Western Australia. She has been studying Indonesian for six years. Precious loved the challenge of the NAILA competition, since she only had a short amount of time to practice and memorise her speech. At school Indonesian is one of her favourite subjects along with literacy and sport. Precious loves to play basketball, to swim and to act in the Manjimup Repertory Club. She enjoys getting involved with social activities with the school and the town.

When she grows up, Precious would like to study forensic science at university. She also aspires to travel the world and see its wonders.

Speech Topic: Introduce yourself to a new Indonesian friend.

Lazuli Chittleborough: Junior Awardee $400

chittleborough-lazuli-photoLazuli Chittleborough enjoys Year 7 at Cornerstone College, South Australia where she now studies German and Chinese. Her enthusiasm of Indonesian studies at primary school was enriched by having been surrounded by Indonesian speakers when living in Medan, Sumatra for three years of her early childhood. The NAILA speech competition gave her a chance to reflect on cultural differences and similarities between specific communities within Indonesia and Australia. Having travelled to several Asian countries, Lazuli loves reflecting on cultural difference. She also likes spending time with her family, gardening, writing and loves days at beaches.

Speech topic: The moment where my understanding of Indonesia changed.

Zahra Daghagheleh: Middle Awardee $600

img_8090Zahra is 15 years old and attends Glenroy College in Melbourne, Victoria. She has been learning Indonesian for three years while simultaneously studying the English language. Indonesian is her fourth language after mother tongue, Arabic and Persian. When Zahra arrived in Australia three years ago, she started school at Glenroy College and was inspired by her Indonesian teacher, Miss Cole, as she taught with passion and inspired Zahra to learn more about Indonesia.

Her dad is also another reason that she is learning Indonesian: he always says that ‘learning another language not only helps you, but it will also help other people’.

In her spare time Zahra enjoys rock climbing, swimming, badminton, learning about different cultures, especially Indonesian culture, and travelling around the world. She also enjoys solving maths and chemistry equations. After completing Year 12, Zahra wants to study medicine as well as Indonesian at university.

Speech topic: How do you think learning Indonesian will help you in the future?

Penny Vakalopoulos: Senior Awardee $1,000

headshotpennyPenny is a Year 12 student at Carey Baptist Grammar School in Melbourne and has been learning Indonesian since Year 7. Her love for Indonesian culture was first sparked in Year 9 when she participated in an exchange program in Surabaya, and has grown steadily ever since. She has also visited other parts of Indonesia, including Jakarta where she was able to volunteer casually for a short period teaching English. Next year, Penny will be taking a gap year and spending five months in Indonesia, volunteering in Lombok and Jakarta, revisiting her friends in Surabaya, and following Ramadan and Lebaran celebrations in Yogyakarta, where she also plans to commence learning Javanese language. At university, Penny plans to study a Bachelor of Arts including a major in Indonesian, with other areas of interest including Asian Studies, Philosophy, Literature and International Development. She hopes one day to be able to live and work in Indonesia to study its culture in more depth, and is inspired by figures like Irish scholar Benedict Anderson who became an expert on South East Asian anthropology, specialising in Indonesian studies.

Speech topic: Do you think learning a second language changes the way you view the world? How? Why?

Shanti Omodei-James: Tertiary Awardee $2,000

14555837_10209951430118737_362474168_nShanti has spent the past four years splitting her time between Indonesia and Australia. As well as completing her undergraduate degree in Development Studies from the University of Adelaide, she has participated in a year long exchange to Indonesia as well as a short exchange through the Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program (AIYEP). When Shanti does return to her hometown of Adelaide she is often busy volunteering within the Indonesian community. Previously Shanti held the role of President of the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association South Australia Chapter and more recently she was part of the INDOFest team, helping to organise one of the largest Indonesian festivals in Australia. In her academic life, Shanti has spent the last year conducting her Honours research through Flinders University on religious pluralism and interfaith dialogue in Indonesia. She was awarded an ANU Indonesia Project research grant to conduct this research.

Speech topic: Consider one issue that you have studied at university and explain how it impacts on either Australian or Indonesian society.

Tom McKenzie: Executive Awardee $3,000

10923300_10152635150043786_3142337327974379832_nTom is an Indonesian teacher at Christian College Geelong, and has always been passionate about the Indonesian language and fostering the relationship between Indonesia and Australia. Currently teaching middle years (grades 5–9), his goal is to raise the profile of Indonesian study in early years. He began his language journey in Prep, and credits his love of Indonesia to his primary school teacher. Over 20 years later, he is still heavily involved in growing Indonesian study and involvement in Australia. In late 2015 and early 2016, Tom was selected to participate in the Australian-Indonesian Youth Exchange Program (AIYEP), and brought a breadth of knowledge and experience in terms of Education to the program. In his spare time, Tom is a keen volleyball and tennis player, and enjoys relaxing in front of the TV with his PS4. After achieving his goals in teaching, Tom plans to extend his passion for Indonesia into other areas, further promoting the language and country to the broader community.

Speech topic: What are the three biggest hurdles we must overcome to strengthen the Australia-Indonesia relationship?

Sally Andrews: Wild Card Awardee $2,500

sally-andrewsSally is in her final year of a Bachelor of Laws/International and Global Studies at the University of Sydney, and was recently selected as a New Colombo Plan Scholar and the 2016 Indonesia Fellow by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She volunteers as a ChilOut Youth Ambassador and as Secretary of the West Papuan Development Company, an Australian NGO that constructs wells in the Papuan provinces. Sally has published several pieces focusing on Indonesia and Melanesia, including a stint as the 2016 Indo-Pacific Fellow for Young Australians in International Affairs. She clerked for Harmers Workplace Lawyers in 2015 and has worked at Allen & Overy as a paralegal and Indonesian translator. She has completed research internships within the Melanesia Program of the Lowy Institute for International Policy, and recently worked for General Electric in Papua New Guinea on a maternal mortality research project. She is currently based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where she is completing a law exchange at Universitas Islam Indonesia as part of her New Colombo Plan Scholarship.

Performance: An original song titled ‘Soekarno’.

Muhammad Arif Zamani: Native Speaker Awardee $2,000

picturearArif Zamani originally hails from Bandung, Indonesia and currently resides in Canberra as a master research student at the Research School of Accounting of the Australian National University.  He is an awardee of the prestigious Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education administered by the Indonesian Ministry of Finance. Arif actively promotes Indonesian cultures through organizing various traditional music and dance performances, culinary and language exchange for those based in Canberra. Currently he serves as an Event Director of the ANU-Indonesian Student Association and General Officer of Australia-Indonesia Youth Association (AIYA) ACT Chapter. In his time off, Arif enjoys travelling around Australia and now calls Australia his second home.

Speech topic: Bersatu kita teguh bercerai kita runtuh. (United we stand, divided we fall.) Discuss in the context of the Australia-Indonesia relationship.