Western Bulldogs 2011 Building Community Resilience Program graduates, Oussama Abou-Zeid and Joel Kuperholz, have been named joint winners of the Hobsons Bay Young Citizen of the Year Award, held at Williamstown Hall on Australia Day.
The pair were recognised for their efforts in establishing the MUJU Peace Club, a combined team of Muslim and Jewish youth inspired by the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Team who competed in the 2011 AFL International Cup.
Following an exhibition game at Whitten Oval between the aptly named “Unity” and “Harmony” teams in September 2011, MUJU was entered in the 2012 Unity Cup and emerged as the undefeated premiers against a host of established teams.
The MUJU Peace Club fostered friendships between youth, separated not only by geographical barriers but common misconceptions associated with inter-faith.
Despite the ongoing Israel and Palestine conflict, Oussama and Joel displayed leadership, commitment and inspiration beyond their years to create mutual respect and understanding between young people from different religions.
The boys legacy will live on with MUJU preparing to defend their title in the upcoming 2013 Unity Cup.
A female MUJU team is also a distinct possibility at this year’s event, which is further acknowledgement for the positive relationships that have been created between these two groups.
Western Bulldogs, Victoria Police, Australian Federal Police and Hobsons Bay City Council were delighted to support these two remarkable, young men throughout their endeavours and will continue to do so through support from the Federal Attorney General’s Building Community Resilience Program.