Dr Saba Nabi OAM: King’s Birthday Honours 2023

Dr Saba Nabi of Wagga Wagga has been recognised for her service to community health, education and multicultural affairs.

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Unless you raise your point of view, the rest of the world wouldn’t ever know it, says Dr Saba Nabi from Wagga Wagga in NSW who has been honoured with the Order of Australia Medal announced on the occasion of the King’s Birthday.

Felicitated for  her service to community health, education and multicultural affairs, her name also features on the COVID-19 honour roll as acknowledgement of the work she did during the pandemic when she was appointed as Administrator of the COVID -19 Vaccination Hub in 2021 for the Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

Dr Nabi expressed happiness about receiving the honour, and also said she was pleasantly surprised by the news.

“The interesting part is that I don’t know who nominated me for the award, but I feel blessed knowing that there are people who trust my abilities. It’s absolutely delightful to receive this honour so early on in my career,” she said.

A volunteering veteran since almost a decade, Dr Nabi feels proud being the voice of the unheard, especially in regional Australia where she lives with her husband and two children and sits on multiple advisory boards and committees, especially those working for improvements in Wagga Wagga.

In fact, it’s the P&C committee of her daughter’s school where she started out, initially to overcome the social isolation she felt having migrated from a vibrant lifestyle back home in India’s Delhi and Patna.

Buoyed by the recognition and appreciation she received for her work, she has since made her voice heard at multiple committees and advisory boards working in the areas of health (clinical innovation, cancer care, mental health, learning difficulties etc), ethnic communities and multicultural affairs, seniors’ and parents issues, education, crime prevention, creative arts and languages, besides working in her own regional community groups of Wagga Wagga and also as Ambassador of Australian Football League Diversity Community since 2017.

“Whatever you do, must be with complete honesty and with full conviction and responsibility,” Dr Saba Nabi says, recounting her multiple roles and committee positions where she believes she has always found respect because the feedback and suggestions she gave were always genuine and well-intentioned.

Asked to choose the one field of work she finds most fulfilling, Dr Nabi says it’s difficult to pick one favourite among all her babies. “I am working for the uplift of all sectors, but multicultural affairs are probably the closest to my heart, partly because of my own journey from being a migrant to a citizen,” she says.

There has been a language barrier, and a lack of translated material, guidance and information especially for those on student visas. “There is also a bit of scepticism in hiring those who come to Australia with a foreign qualification, and more can be done to help provide recognition to foreign degrees, and I am working for that,” Dr Nabi says.

Dr Nabi is certainly not new to receiving awards, having started out as a winner of the New South Wales International Student of the Year Award back in 2014, and since then having collected a wide variety of them, including being on the list of the 100 Influential women of the Australian Financial Review in 2018 and also winning the Riverina Volunteer of the Year Award in 2019 and the Hidden Treasurers Honours Roll of 2020, among a host of others.

She was also the recipient of the New South Wales Rural Women Scholarship in 2021.

Dr Saba Nabi, who travels to Sydney regularly for work feels proud to have passed on the volunteering spirit to her 13-year old daughter too. “It’s heartening to see her too take on a lot of voluntary initiatives,” she says.

READ ALSO: Dr Sunita Siddhu Dhindsa, Nishi Puri, Arun Venkatesha, and  Dr Virendra Kumar Berera, OAM

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