Akram Azimi was born in Afghanistan, right in the middle of a raging civil war. With no choice and only the clothes on their back, Akram and his family left everything behind and fled to Peshawar, Pakistan. In Peshawar, Akram saw firsthand the impact of extreme poverty, polio, malnutrition and inter-communal conflicts. This left a long-lasting impression on him.
His whole world was overturned once more in 1999, as he and his family were lucky enough to receive a visa to Australia. Initially, Akram struggled in his new school and culture. However, a very special teacher high school teacher mentored him—infecting Akram with a love of learning and a sense of purpose. From failing his classes and being a social outcast, Akram went on to become his school’s top academic student and elected as head boy.
Over the last 10 years, Akram has taught at university and mentored young people in remote and rural Western Australia. In 2011 he co-founded a student-run initiative, I am the Other, which aims to address reconciliation issues.
For his community service work, Akram was named Young Australian of the Year for 2013.