Dame Marie Bashir Peace Awards

Congratulations to our 2023 Dame Marie Bashir Peace Awardees and High Commended Certificate recipients.

A wonderful afternoon of celebration was had and enormous thanks to the NCWNSW team for their hard work in the lead-up to the event and on the day.

Thank you to Michael Mannington OAM for the photos.

Each of the recipients was selected for a significant contribution to social justice, promoting harmonious relationships and courage in the field of peace and harmony within their school and community.


  • Nada ALI                                       Year 12 Coffs Harbour High School
  • Madeline BLACK                         Year 12 Nowra Anglican College
  • Lilly COOMBES                            Year 12 Ulladulla High School
  • Christa-Maria INATY                  Year 11 The Hills Grammar School, Kenthurst
  • Florence JALILI                            Year 12 Glenwood High School
  • Sophie WAY                                   Year 12 Santa Sabina College, Strathfield 


  • Anabel ABNOUS                         Year 12 Mercy Catholic College, Chatswood
  • Miray EL KHATIB                       Year 12 Al-Faisal College, Auburn
  • Sienna HANSEN                          Year 12 Gilroy Catholic College, Castle Hill
  • Le-Anna NGUYEN                      Year 12 Beverley Hills Girls High School
  • Annabelle ZHANG                      Year 11 Hornsby Girls High School

Professor The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, served as Governor of New South Wales from 1 March 2001 to 1 October 2014 and was the first woman appointed to the role. Born in Narrandera in the Riverina district of New South Wales and educated at the Narrandera Public School and Sydney Girls High School, Marie Bashir completed a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at the University of Sydney in 1956.

 Professor Bashir taught at the Universities of Sydney and NSW, increasingly working with children’s services, psychiatry and mental health services, and Indigenous health programs. At the time of her appointment as Governor of New South Wales, she was a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Sydney; Area Director of Mental Health Services Central Sydney; and Senior Consultant to the Aboriginal Medical Service, Redfern and the Aboriginal Medical Service, Kempsey. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1988 for her services to child and adolescent health and was invested by Her Majesty the Queen with the insignia of a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in 2006.

Professor Bashir, was an advocate for improved mental health outcomes for the young, marginalised and disadvantaged, to international relations, through the promotion of collaborative health programs, and as a leader in tertiary education.

2023 Awardee – Nada Ali – Yr 12 – Coffs Harbour High School. 

Nada has an excellent attitude, approach and commitment to working towards a better world. Since enrolling at Coffs Harbour High School in Year 7, having only arrived in Australia from Iraq as a refugee a year earlier, Nada has demonstrated that she wanted to bring about social change in people’s attitudes towards individual differences and the way communities work together to accept cultural differences.

In doing so, she has the respect of her peers and teachers and is seen as a youth leader within the community regarding her goals to improve community harmony. As a founding member of the All Under One Sun project, Nada has successfully brought together youth of many cultures and social backgrounds and promoted harmonious relationships and peace by combating racism and promoting acceptance of difference.

The adoption of this project by schools in varying parts of Australia demonstrates leadership beyond her immediate region. Nada was selected as the school representative in the 2022 Zonta Coffs Harbour Young Women in Public Affairs Award, and her moving speech about helping women in war-torn areas demonstrated her commitment to social justice.

Furthermore, Nada is an avid football (soccer) player and is the volunteer Girls Co-ordinator for RISE Coffs Harbour, a youth social cohesion and wellbeing program that encourages youth to make positive connections that build their confidence and self-esteem. Nada has also been an active member of the Student Representative Council and House Captain for 2023.

Although Nada would have been an excellent School Captain, she decided against nominating for the position as she advised that she would rather spend her time doing more outside the school and instead immerse herself within the community, which is what she is doing.


We were thrilled to celebrate with a group of sixty-two people who attended the Presentation on Monday, 26th September 2022, in the Preston Stanley Room, State Parliament House. 

Congratulations to all Nominees to be recognised by your Principal from across your student cohort is a great accolade.

Special congratulations to our Awardees, and thank you for the work you do in your communities across New South Wales and further afield.



  • Gypsy DONOVAN                        Year 12 Tomaree High School – Principal Paul Baxter
  • Caitlin GRECH                             Year 12 Northmead Creative and Performing Arts High School
  • Gina HARRISON                         Year 12 Northern Beaches Secondary College Manly Campus
  • Bella MERLINO                           Year 12 Santa Sabina College Strathfield
  • Sophie NGUYEN                          Year 11 Cabramatta High School
  • Naikbakht WAHIDI                     Year 12 Holroyd High School


  • Aiza KHURRAM                         Year 12 Reddam House
  • Priya LALL                                   Year 12 Cherrybrook Technology High School
  • Ameira SOUBRA                         Year 12 Elderslie High School Narellan
  • Alyssa TOWNSEND                    Year 12 Deniliquin High School

2022 Awardee – Caitlin Grech, Northmead CAPA High School

Caitlin’s principal writes:

“Caitlin is an outstanding leader and advocate for peace and harmony in our community. She has a welldefined sense of social justice, leads by
example, her integrity, inclusivity and passion are inspiring. She has initiated and led activities which highlight the inequity in society.”

Caitlin is School Captain, and during her campaign, she concentrated on a quote from Mayur Ramgir: Your actions define your character, your words define your wisdom, but your treatment of others defines the REAL you and felt this encapsulated her character and underpinned her objective for standing.

Caitlin instantiated and led “Vouch for Lismore”, raising $2,800 for flood relief and is currently leading the food drive for the NSW Flood victims involving the Northmead Community. She has mentored and coached students with disabilities at The Hills School, assisting them in sporting and extracurricular activities and successfully runs the SRC-funded Breakfast Club, operating three times weekly.

Caitlin has developed a Community Project addressing the issues of Domestic Violence in our society and organised a whole school walkathon and colour run to raise money for a student struggling with cancer.

Demonstrated leadership is about service to others. Caitlin has assiduously attended the Uniting Church Nursing Home to give care, attention, and good conversation to the