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Mahmood Musavi is among 3500 Catholic
secondary school students completing
their South Australian Certificate of
Education this month.
The Year 12 St Ignatius’ College student
has been busy juggling his revision
timetable to ensure he gets the best score
possible to gain entrance to nursing.
Last month he sat exams for Persian and
this month he will be tested in chemistry,
maths, and physical education.
What sets him apart from his peers is
Mahmood’s remarkable story of survival
and community spirit.
He is a 23-year-old Afghan asylum seeker
currently on the 30,000-long waiting list for
processing for temporary protection. He
might have to wait three years to know of
It is possible that his bridging visa
conditions will mean he will have to enter
university as a full-fee paying international
He has very little money. He received a
scholarship at the College due to his ability
to help others through his love of learning.
Mahmood fled Iran, where he was living
with his mother, eight siblings and his
fiancé, in 2012 after Iranian authorities
identified him as the director of an
underground school for Afghan children
He arrived in Australia by boat and was
detained for about 60 days at Christmas
Island and Perth before being settled in
Adelaide in 2013.
Mahmood, who can speak seven
languages, set up an English language
school for asylum seekers in Adelaide 18
months ago in response to a cut in the
Federally-funded Adult Migrant English
Program at Thebarton.
Three times a week he tutors about 20
men and also helps Year 10 students with
science and maths.
“I don’t know if I’m going to be here
tomorrow or the day after tomorrow so I
try to make as much a difference as I can,”
says Mahmood. “I can’t live without being
Mahmood’s dream is to practice medicine.
He has sat his UMAT test for entry into
He says the idea of not being able to study
further would be disappointing but he
needed to concentrate on the good in his
life right now to avoid the deep depression
caused by uncertainty affecting many of
his friends on bridging visas.
“I could be in their place but I’m trying
not to because I’m amongst lovely people
at the college and at least I’m trying my
St Ignatius’ College rector Fr Rob Davoren
SJ says Mahmood has made a significant
contribution to the College. “Mahmood’s
unfailingly positive attitude and friendly
manner are greatly appreciated by
students and staff alike,” he says.
“His powerful story, told so openly and
honestly at a recent assembly, has also
made him well respected and admired by
all at St Ignatius.”
POSITIVE: St Ignatius’ College student Mahmood Musavi, an Afghan asylum
seeker, is sitting his final year exams this month and plans to be a doctor.
Mahmood’s biggest test yet to come
By Rebecca DiGirolamo
A priest in the Andes
annointing the sick
Greens SA Parliamentary Leader
Mark Parnell says the Pope’s
encyclical on the environment
was well-timed and shared key
philosophies with the Greens
Mr Parnell told The Southern Cross
recently that Pope Francis’ Laudato
Si’ was “timely” in the lead up to
the United Nations Climate Change
Conference in Paris later this month
and into December.
He said the Pope’s message was
not new, however his popularity
worldwide gave him a greater
audience platform which could
influence world leaders at the UN
“I would love to think it (Laudato
Si’) could make a change,” he said.
Mr Parnell said the encyclical’s
treatment of the impact of
affluence and technology on the
environment and its understanding
of biodiversity was in line with
Greens thinking, however he said
population was also a major factor.
The veteran Member of the
Legislative Council was among
three guest speakers at a recent
Glen Osmond parish priest Fr
John Curtis and retired Anglican
Bishop Bruce Rosier also spoke
on the Pope’s latest encyclical and
its connection to all people at the
monthly forum called Cross Rds.
Mr Rosier said he found reading the
encyclical “deeply moving”.
“I think it is a very important
document because it’s a call to all
humanity,” he said.
Mr Rosier said he found the
Pope’s central message of a world
focused on self as the cause for
environmental and social damage
was an important one.
“Our self-concern and self-interest
is really quite a burden.”
Pope’s encyclical on cue
GLOBAL ALLIANCE: Greens SA Parliamentary Leader Mark Parnell
MLC with Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical Laudato Si’.
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