Oz Malik may be studying a degree within the construction industry, but he plans to develop more than just land – he hopes to build a better world.
The 22-year-old is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning at RMIT University but also sees himself advocating for positive social justice issues in the future.
“And working in diplomacy on a global level to bring peace and stability,” he said.
And his passion started at a very young age, when he began noticing disharmony within the wider community and the perception of Muslims growing in a negative direction.
“Protests in the streets, just a real general negativity surrounding my community.”
He says he wants to see more representatives and leaders within the Muslim community, better resources and more engagement with non-Muslim communities.
“We need more leaders who not only represent us, but collaborate with us,” he said.
Oz, who is of Pakistani background, is a media officer at Muslim Women’s Council of Victoria, sits in on the Casey Council’s Inclusion and Advisory Committee and is a Muslim Youth Mentor/Leader for the Australian Multicultural Foundation (AMF) – giving presentations at schools around Melbourne and at events.
And to him, issues around identity, discrimination and marginalisation and unfair opportunities in society; in the context of employment and engagement, are the three challenges facing Muslim youths today.
He prides his mother and aunty for his direction in life, “they are amazing women who have always supported me in my goals.”
Oz often turns to Rumi when feeling deflated for a quick-kick-start, particularly finding comfort in his quote, “What you seek is seeking you.”