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South West woman to represent WA on one of Australia’s biggest stages

South West woman to represent WA on one of Australia’s biggest stages

The South West Development Commission has wished Professor Samar Aoun the best of luck, ahead of the national Australian of the Year Awards to be announced on 25 January 2023.

Professor Aoun is in the running for the national awards, having been announced the 2023 WA Australian of the Year at a ceremony at Government House, Perth in November.

“It was a great honour but I was really overwhelmed on the night because there were so many great people who have done fantastic work as well in their own field,” Professor Aoun said.

Professor Aoun is a leader in her field. As Perron Institute Research Chair in Palliative Care at the University of Western Australia, the Bunbury resident is internationally recognised for her research and advocacy into palliative care and bereavement support.

She is taking a leading role in equipping people to better support those facing death and bereavement, through her role as co-founder and chair of the South West Compassionate Communities Network.

From Lebanon to Bunbury, Professor Aoun’s personal experiences led her to being named the 2023 WA Australian of the Year.

The Bunbury resident’s professional pathway was shaped by a number of factors including her grandfather being a doctor who served his community on horseback, growing up in war-torn Lebanon, and experiencing the death of her father.

“We try to get the community to have more conversations about what kind of death they want, how they’re going to prepare for it and get the stigma out of it,” Professor Aoun said.

“As a Compassionate Communities Network, the bigger vision is to have every person, every family and every community know what to do when someone is caring, someone is dying and someone is grieving for someone they have lost from terminal illness.”

For more information about the South West Compassionate Communities Network, including how to become part of a support network for local individuals and families in their social and practical needs as a connector or helping, visit .

“We’re building the capacity of communities to care for each other,” Professor Aoun said.

The Commission has previously supported Compassionate Communities events.

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