Griffith University has named five winners at its prestigious Outstanding Alumni Awards 2022, with an acclaimed Aboriginal author taking out the top award.

Bachelor of Public Policy (Honours) graduate Melissa Lucashenko was bestowed the Outstanding Alumni Award at a ceremony on the Gold Coast for her work paving the way for other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia’s literary scene.

The proud Bundjalung woman is an award-winning novelist, essayist, and short story writer, as well as being a fierce advocate for levelling the playing field for Indigenous and underclass youth.

Outstanding Alumnus recipient Melissa Lucashenko receives her award from Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans

The Outstanding First Peoples Alumni Award was given to Professor Dennis Foley, a Bachelor of Business and MBA graduate, for his commitment to First Nations education and Indigenous business and entrepreneurship development.

Professor Foley was Australia’s first Professor of Indigenous Entrepreneurship and the founding director of the NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce.

He was the first in his family to get an undergraduate degree, doing so “at the ripe old age of 45”, and went on to be a Fulbright Scholar and a double Endeavour Fellow.

First Peoples Alumnus recipient Professor Dennis Foley accepts his award from GBS PVC Professor Caitlin Byrne

Beny Bol OAM, a refugee from South Sudan, was given the title of Outstanding Young Alumnus for 2022, for his work with African youths in South East Queensland.

Young Alumnus of the Year Beny Bol OAM receives his award from Chancellor Henry Smerdon AM DUniv

The Bachelor of Arts (International Relations and Asian Studies) and Master of International Law alumnus established the African Youth Support Council, which has already grown to employ 15 mentors across Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan and runs early intervention programs in schools, as well as rehabilitation strategies at juvenile detention centres.

Master of Arts, Journalism and Mass Communication alumnus Dr Antoni Tsaputra and Doctor of Philosophy / Master of Science and Public Health graduate Dr Di Jiangli were jointly presented with the Outstanding International Alumni Award.

Born with a profound physical disability, Dr Tsaputra has been a wheelchair user his whole life. Growing up in Indonesia, he struggled with inadequate health care and received extremely limited support to aid him to live a mobile life.

Dr Tsaputra’s Master’s degree set the foundation for a career dedicated to improving the lives of others. He completed his PhD in Australia and has been recognised globally for his advocacy work to empower individuals and organisation to implement policies and procedures to support those with disability.

Dr Di, China CDC Women and Health Centre deputy director and principal researcher, plays a key role in national maternal and child health initiatives, and is part of various research teams addressing women’s health issues.

She also continues to be heavily involved in China’s COVID-19 prevention and control work, even playing piano in an aged care facility during the height of the pandemic to spread positivity.

Learn more about the 2022 Outstanding Alumni Award winners.

10: Reduced Inequalities
UN Sustainable Development Goals 10: Reduced Inequalities

4: Quality Education
UN Sustainable Development Goals 4: Quality Education