Akram was born in Afghanistan, right in the middle of a raging civil war. At first, his family tried to brave out the war; but, after a few years, the war came to their front door. 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 serving others. 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.
Inspired by his own teacher’s impact, over the last 8 years, Akram has taught at university across multiple disciplines. And he has used his leadership and pastoral skills to mentor 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 at the non-Indigenous end of the equation. Akram has also mentored a Special Olympics athlete to help raise community awareness of disability issues.
For his community service work, the Prime Minister of Australia named Akram Young Australian of the Year for 2013. Seizing this opportunity with both hands, he delivered over 1000+ speeches on topics ranging from education, eradication of polio, extreme poverty, philanthropy to reconciliation. His efforts, in collaboration with many others, contributed to a pledge made by the Australian Government to invest $80 million in 2013, and $20 million in 2014, in polio eradication.