Foundation announces 28th Leadership Scholarship for Refugees at University of Western Sydney
Crescent Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to supporting refugee education, homelessness and Islamic cultural heritage, today announced the appointment of former socceroos captain Craig Foster to the board. The appointment coincides with a significant milestone for the Foundation with 28 scholarships now awarded for students with refugee backgrounds to study at the University of Western Sydney.
Following a celebrated football career, Craig became one of the nation’s most respected broadcasters with an 18-year, multi-Logie winning career at SBS Australia. Craig is an Adjunct Professor of Sport and Social Responsibility at Torrens University, he sits on the Multicultural Council of Australia and works across a vast range of social programs from Indigenous rights and self-determination, homelessness and domestic violence along with refugee advocacy. He has been heavily involved in indigenous football, refugee children and refugee rights and homelessness, through sport programs.
He is a Human Rights and Refugee Ambassador for Amnesty Australia, Australia Committee member with Human Rights Watch, and Advisory Council member of the Australian Human Rights Institute, UNSW. His social justice advocacy extends to several high profile, global campaigns, including leadership of the #SaveHakeem campaign to free Bahraini Muslim refugee Hakeem al-Araibi from a Thai prison, calling for the resettlement and freedom of over 400 refugees and asylum seekers indefinitely detained by Australia in PNG and Nauru for almost seven years, and the humanitarian response by global sport to the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in Australia and expanded internationally.
He has received a 2021 nomination for Australian of the Year for all of the incredible work he has done beyond the chief football analyst we all know him as. His experience as both a player and broadcaster of the FIFA world cup and A-League means he is a prominent promoter of the importance of sport in community life across social media, whether it’s AFL or NRL, or played in Queensland, New South Wales or Perth.
“He brings a wealth of experience and strong decision making through his long-term involvement with refugee and asylum seeker communities in Australia. His dedication and commitment to striving for a ‘fair-go’ for the most vulnerable in our society is backed by significant action mobilising all sectors of our community to help. It’s this action which differentiates his leadership – he gets things done.”
“Crescent Foundation offered a unique opportunity to partner. With an established program for refugee students at UWS, along with initiatives for the homeless and young people, there was really strong alignment and a shared vision,” said Mr Foster on his appointment to the advisory board.
“This year has created significant and new challenges for our most vulnerable communities that require immediate action. I look forward to working with Crescent Foundation to raise awareness, funds and deliver practical solutions,” he said.
Craig joins other high-profile board members including multicultural advocate, Mr Affy Bhatti; experienced ASX company director, Ms Penny Bingham-Hall; international development expert, Ms Samira Baqatada; UAE innovation and strategy leader, Dr Sayd Farook; and property developer and education advocate, Mr Amen Zoabi.
This year, Crescent Foundation awarded its 28th Leadership Scholarship to students with refugee backgrounds to study at the University of Western Sydney. Since the program began in 2017, the scholarships have supported students to study a diverse range of degrees including Medical Science, Engineering, Physiotherapy, Nursing, Business, Law, Criminology and ICT. Since founding, thirteen Leadership Scholarship recipients have graduated.
In addition, the Foundation supports a range of initiatives including:
- Scouts NSW to enable children from refugee families can participate in scouting.
- Thrive Refugee Enterprise which helps refugees and asylum seekers start their own small businesses in Australia, and Sanctuary Australia Foundation, which helps refugees from war-torn areas with aspects of the settlement, including education, employment and housing.
- Several organisations and programs to help the homeless, including The Big Issue, an independent, not-for-profit social enterprise that develops solutions to help homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged people positively change their lives.
- The Islamic Museum of Australia, based in Victoria, which showcases the artistic and cultural heritage of Muslims in Australia, as well as the University of Melbourne Grimwade Centre for Cultural Material Conservation, which preserves significant Islamic manuscripts dating to the 13th century.
About Crescent Foundation
Crescent Foundation is an independent non-profit organisation supported by Crescent Wealth, Australia’s first Islamic Superannuation Fund. Founded in 2011, Crescent Foundation’s mission is to open tomorrow to everyone through initiatives that build a positive, strong and inclusive Australia and support those who need it most. This includes the funding scholarships for refugees, support for the homeless, protection of Australian Islamic art and culture and civics and leadership for young people. To find out more visit https://crescentfoundation.com.au/
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Talal currently serves as a Non-Executive Director on the Whitlam Institute and Western Sydney University Foundation Council Board. He also serves as Chairman of First Quay Capital and Chairman of the Australian Arab Dialogue. Talal has also served on the Australia Post, Board of Sydney Ports, Macquarie University and the Western Sydney Area Health Service and the Chairman of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Council of Australia Arab Relations. In an executive capacity, Talal spent 10 years at PwC as a director and strategist, and at investment firm Babcock & Brown in the Corporate Finance Group and later in the Technical Real Estate Division. Later Talal held leadership positions in Better Place Australia, Platinum Hearing and Star Transport Australia.