Mr Beny Aterdit Bol OAM
If you are ready to be inspired, then read on.
In 2007 Beny Aterdit Bol arrived in Australia on a Humanitarian Visa from Africa. He’s managed within that period of time to acquire two Masters’ degrees in International Law and Governance, Public Policy and Development, from the University of Queensland and Griffith University, and write a book about his journey. In the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Beny received an OAM for service to youth. A high achiever? Yes. A quiet achiever? Yes. Has he made a positive impact to community? Absolutely, yes. But he’s only just begun.
‘I am at the beginning of my professional life and I am still ambitious in relation to public policy.
‘I find it very satisfying to have the opportunity to represent the voices of more than 70,000 members of the African community in Queensland and the broader multicultural community at the tables where key policies are initiated and developed and where decisions are made on matters of significance to the community.
‘I believe I was recognised in the Order of Australia because of my contribution as a volunteer and leader in the wider community, not just to the African and multicultural communities.’
Beny says the Order of Australia is a good system because it allows ordinary people in the community doing extraordinary things to get nominated.
‘There are so many worthy people who deserve to be recognised. I want them to have the same opportunity as me, to be recognised and celebrated.
‘We need to encourage as many people as possible to nominate. That action helps encourage others to do the same. It inspires and motivates people.
‘Many people said to me that the reality of me receiving an OAM sent a message that if you do great things you will not go unnoticed.’
Beny has been a Youth Worker for the last nine years and is currently the Engagement & Support Program Manager at Youth Off The Streets, a not-for-profit organisation that helps young people to build better futures.
He’s recently been appointed by the Minister for Children and Youth Justice and Minister for Multicultural Affairs in Queensland to sit on the Youth Justice Strategy Reference Group. He founded the African Youth Support Council, which currently employs 11 African Youth Mentors to run rehabilitation and early intervention activities inside juvenile detention centres, in schools and at the African Youth Centre in Brisbane.
Beny also is the Founder of the COVID-19 Community Response Strategy Coordination Committee, which translated and distributed information about the pandemic in numerous uncredited African languages.
‘It’s important to have a global vision that focuses on humanitarian causes and advancing people’s general welfare regardless of their cultural, religious, political or economic backgrounds. That’s how society should be – focusing on values that bring and bind us together as people.
‘The key community values of inclusiveness, generosity and compassion are underpinned by humanitarian values.
‘We are one people, regardless of our cultural background or circumstances. If you have come to Australia from another country and you do great things, then you will be celebrated in just the same way as those who were born here.’