The Australasian Union of Jewish students (AUJS) won three prestigious awards at the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) annual congress in Jerusalem in late December.
President Alissa Foster won Political Activist of the Year, Adelaide University Jewish Students Society (AUJSS) won best local union and AUJS won the Union of the Year award.
The WUJS congress was the first since the end of 2019, bringing together Jewish student leaders and unions from across the globe to learn from one another.
“The past three years have been really difficult for us being so physically far away from the rest of the Jewish student world, however, it really means a lot to be recognised on the global scale for our commitment to supporting Jewish students,” Foster said.
“AUJS has given me so much both personally and professionally and I am incredibly proud to be a part of such an inspirational and passionate team. I can’t wait to see our achievements this year and I look forward to continuing the incredible work of the people who have come before me.”
Foster said she is “particularly proud that the hard work and passion” of AUJSS was recognised.
“Despite all the challenges thrown at them, they remained committed to creating a thriving Jewish student life in South Australia,” she said.
AUJS South Australia and AUJSS president Jonathan Iadarola said, “This award means so much to us in Adelaide. The courage and perseverance that was required to establish this club in the face of serious antisemitism at our university, was only due to the massive support we received from the wider Australian Jewish community.
“We are so grateful to be recognised with this award and are very much looking forward to continuing to be a place for Jewish students in South Australia to feel supported and connected.”
The prestigious Union of the Year award is given to the union which has been the most active and innovative.
2022 AUJS president Natalie Gunn said, “I’m so proud of the AUJS family for its achievements at WUJS. After a difficult year it is such an honour and testament to the 150 student leaders to be recognised by the global Jewish student community.”
WUJS president Jonathan Braun said the awards are “the ultimate recognition for the incredible activism, leadership and involvement” of Jewish student leaders and organisations.
“No one better than AUJS deserved this achievement for 2022,” he said.
The congress program saw the students visit the Knesset, Supreme Court and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and hear from UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer and Jerusalem deputy mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum.
For the first time since 2019, the AUJS Leadership Development Program is back as an international initiative. The seven participants attended the congress in Israel and are currently visiting organisations in America before heading to Dubai to explore the community on the way home.