On World Oceans Day 2016, Australia Awards celebrates alumnus Ibrahim Naeem of the Maldives, whose job is to make his country’s first marine park and Biosphere Reserve a success.
Naeem is the Director General of the Environmental Protection Agency in the Maldives.
After completing a Masters in Environmental Management at the University of Queensland as an Australia Awards scholar, he returned home with the goal of preserving his country’s fragile and beautiful marine environment.
One of his most important tasks is to manage the Maldives first Biosphere Reserve and marine park on Baa Atoll. Baa Atoll was declared a Biosphere Reserve in June 2011 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
"I think the Maldives is a country where we have a very beautiful environment, and it’s really a very fragile environment. If we don’t care for our environment we will not be safe here, because it’s the environment which protects us. And our economic pillars like the tourism or the fisheries both depend on the quality of the environment," Naeem said.
Ibrahim Zuhuree graduated from Maldives College of Higher Education with an advance Diploma in Secondary Teaching, and went on to teach Mathematics and Physics at an Island Community School. While teaching, he realized that he needed to improve his skills and knowledge, and subsequently applied for an Australian Development Scholarship. He firmly believes that he was awarded the scholarship for his hard work and commitment to serve his island community.
In 2004, Ibrahim finished his undergraduate Studies from the University of Western Australia (UWA) with Majors in Applied Mathematics and Physics. During his studies in Perth, he also participated in one academic and one industry-based project. After obtaining his BSc degree, he returned to Maldives and began to work as a physics teacher. During this period, he became interested in policy formulation, development and analysis. In 2006, he received a sponsorship offer from AusAID to study Public Policy and Management at the Adelaide Campus of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). As part of this program, he worked with various nonprofit organizations in South Australia.
Aminath Shiyama was awarded an AusAID scholarship in 2000/2001 after receiving the Dux award from the National Diploma of Secondary Teaching program at the Institute of Teacher Education (currently Faculty of Education of Maldives College of Higher Education). She enrolled in a four-year combined degree at the University of Western Australia, from where she graduated with a double degree in 2004.
On returning to Maldives, Aminath Shiyama joined an all boys’ public secondary school teaching GCE O Level Chemistry, using the knowledge and the teaching from her degree. It provided her with enthusiasm, courage and self-confidence to manage her students. The educational structure and the curriculum framework in Australia had opened her eyes to many options to motivate her students, cater for their specific needs and help them strive for academic excellence.