UWA links to finalists in West Australian of the Year Awards

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Graduates, staff members and students from The University of Western Australia have been recognised as finalists in this year's Western Australian of the Year Awards, which will be announced at a gala dinner on Friday 30 May at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Professions Award:

Winthrop Professor Marcus Atlas is a surgeon and scientist specialising in ear and hearing disorders.  He holds the Foundation Chair in Otolaryngology at The University of Western Australia and is the Director of the Ear Science Institute Australia (ESIA).  Under his Directorship ESIA is recognised as a leading global centre of excellence in research, education, clinical activities and community programs.  He is internationally renowned as an expert in surgery of the ear and skull base.

UWA graduate and Director of the UWA Institute of Agriculture Hackett Professor Kadambot Siddique AM, FTSE is recognised as an international leader in crop science, dryland agriculture and food production systems.  He has been pivotal in assisting Australian farmers improve their agricultural productivity.  He has been instrumental in establishing the pulse industries in WA and nationally through the development and release of chickpea, lentil and grass pea varieties which have superior quality and yield.  Professor Siddique's personal research and collaboration with others has helped Australia become one of the major grain legume exporting nations in the world. He has established international collaboration in research and teaching between Western Australia and countries such as China, India and Middle East.  In 2011 Kadambot was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for Advancing agricultural science.

Arts and Culture Award:

Louise Howden-Smith OAM has a passion for bringing to the stage Australian conversations, Dreamtime stories and contemporary influences through dance.  In 2012 Louise founded UWA's resident dance company Ochre Contemporary Dance Company which brings together both Aboriginal and non-Indigenous dancers and arts-related professionals who showcase the colour and vibrancy of the community through performing and visual arts.  Before establishing Ochre, Louise spent more than a decade as Executive Director of the WA Ballet.  Louise was a state finalist for Senior Australian of the Year in 2014 and is a recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to the Performing Arts, particularly ballet.

Youth Award:

Abdul Abdullah is an artist who examines the experience of the ‘other' in society using the mediums of painting, photography, video, installation and performance.  He's particularly interested in the lives of young Muslims in the contemporary multicultural Australian context and seeks to understand how their experiences relate to the universal aspects of human nature.  Named a Perth Rising Star by Insite Magazine and a Triple J 25 Under 25 + Smashin' It, Abdul was Artist-In-Residence at UWA's Lawrence Wilson Gallery in 2013.  Abdul's works are featured in the National Gallery of Australia, The University of Western Australia, Murdoch University, The Islamic Museum of Australia and the Bendigo Art Gallery.  Abdul has earned a "Highly Commended" prize at the National Youth Self Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery and has twice been a finalist in the Archibald Prize.

Lockie Cooke (Binjalli) is the Founder and CEO of the Indigenous Communities Education and Awareness Foundation (ICEA) - a youth-driven, not-for-profit organisation that works closely with young people in remote Indigenous communities.  Lockie believes the forces driving mutual respect in the community are discovered through creating positive experiences, fostering strong genuine relationships and raising an understanding of Indigenous culture.  Lockie represented Australia internationally at the United Nations in Geneva Switzerland and at the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka.  Lockie recently graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Commerce degree.

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