Young Muslim Leaders graduate

Twelve young Muslim men and women from Australia and Malaysia today graduated from La Trobe University’s respected Muslim Leadership Program, an invaluable forum that brings emerging leaders together to consider key issues affecting communities in the Asia-Pacific region.

HANDS!The month-long intensive program was set up seven years ago to grow a network of young Muslims with leadership potential. It is delivered by La Trobe’s Centre for Dialogue and the Islamic Council of Victoria and supported by the Victorian Government, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australia – Malaysia Council.

The 12 graduating leaders have travelled to Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney to meet and explore new ideas with journalists, politicians and senior business people.

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar told the group at a graduation ceremony at Parliament House they had joined an exclusive group of graduates who are now playing a key role in shaping debate in the region.

‘The Muslim Leadership Program is about fostering a generation of talented young people who are committed to a shared vision of dialogue, peace and embracing difference,’ he said.

‘La Trobe University is proud to convene a program that helps young people become more comfortable in their identity as future Muslim leaders in their own communities.’ 

Many of the graduates are studying in Australia as well as volunteering. See the full list below.

Graduation ceremony details

Thursday, 31 October 2013, 3.00 pm – 4:30pm 

K Room in Parliament House, Spring St, East Melbourne.

Media contact

Penny Underwood: T: 03 9818 8540 | E:

Muslim Leadership Program graduates 2013 

Mr AHMAD FAHMI bin Mohd Samsudin (Malaysia) is an Executive in the Property Development Division, Asset and Investment at Koperasi Belia Islam Malaysia and was recently elected as Assistant Secretary General for the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM). 

Ms Hodan ALI arrived in Melbourne from Djoubiti in 1992 with her family. She recently completed a Master of Clinical Embryology and hopes to start volunteering at the end of 2013 at the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital in her ancestral homeland Somaliland. 

Ms Fatima el-CHEIKH is a young Muslim Australian with a Lebanese heritage.  She was part of the Aspire2Inspire team for 2013 and helped to organise the A2i Muslim Youth Conference, which featured the theme of how we can help to raise awareness of current issues through creative outlets such as theatre or spoken word poetry. 

Mr Abdulkadir HASSAN fled Somalia with his family to Australia when he was four years old. Abdulkadir and his family are keen on nutrition and physical activity and he is currently studying public health, which he intends to pursue as a career. 

Ms Hawa Mohamed HASSAN was born in Australia in 1994 to Somali migrants. She is currently pursuing a career in Primary Teaching majoring in English and French. Hawa is an active committee member of the Islamic Society at La Trobe University. 

Ms Najah IMAD was born in Melbourne in 1993 to a large Lebanese Muslim family. For the last four years she has organised different charity events for the National Breast Cancer Foundation and has also done volunteer work for the Cancer Council. She is also a part of the Mosquito Foundation, a small non profitable organisation aiming to provide relief to developing and war-torn countries around the world. 

Mr Moustapha SARAKIBI was born in Lebanon to Syrian parents. He completed a Masters in Islamic Banking & Finance at La Trobe University in 2012. Moustapha has been intensively involved with the Muslim community as a sheikh, prison chaplain, a member of the Board of Imams and a member of the Family Arbitration Council which acts as a Shariah Court in Victoria for Marriage Affairs. 

Ms Faatimah SCHROEDER was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1993. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Marketing. With her dressmaking abilities and being an advocate for active living, she hopes to help inspire young Muslim women to become hijabified sportswomen. 

Dr Imran SYED is currently undertaking Masters in Health Administration. As the founder of Sa’daat Foundation, the first not-for-profit Islamic community organisation in Shepparton, he has initiated a number of programs to serve the community and to bring together the diverse Islamic community with the broader community. 

Mr Suhail USMAN is an environment officer at the Islamic Council of Victoria in Melbourne Australia. His work involves raising awareness on environmental and sustainability issues within the Muslim and broader Victorian community and implementing various sustainability related community projects. 

Mrs ZARINA Nalla is Associate Director (Public Policy and Strategy) of IA Consulting (iAC), a private firm that offers management and technology consulting services across the region. She is also the Co-Founder and former Chief Operating Officer of the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS), a think-tank that studies contemporary issues affecting the Muslim and other communities in Malaysia, with a focus on policy research to further civilisational renewal. 

Ms Tasnim Zawfir ZIARD was born in Saudi Arabia and is currently majoring in Accounting, Finance & Macroeconomics. She is involved in a migrant and refugee support group to intervene and rehabilitate women and children who are undergoing domestic violence.