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Nearly 20,000 students nationwide, aged 4 to18 years, entered the inaugural SBS National Languages Competition which aims to encourage and celebrate a love of learning languages in Australia. SBS and Community Languages Australia (CLA) today announced six national winners across three age categories.
SBS Radio

13 Jun 2016 - 4:04 PM  UPDATED 23 May 2019 - 3:58 PM

The theme for the 2016 SBS National Languages Competition is ‘what does learning language mean to you?’

72 national finalists from across the country were announced on 30 August and one winner from each of the three categories was selected by an SBS judging panel including Director of Audio and Language Content, Mandi Wicks, SBS Arabic24 presenter Heba Kassoua and TV screenwriter, columnist and author Benjamin Law.

Community Languages Australia selected 24 entries from the 72 national finalists, who were eligible for the People’s Choice Competition. One winner per category was voted by the public between 30 August and 9 September.

All six winners will be flown to the SBS National Languages Competition Awards Ceremony in Sydney to accept their award and prize on Saturday 8 October.

SBS Winners:

Junior Category:  Natalie Chung

Secondary Primary Category:  Kathir Janaki Sakthivel

Senior Category: Katerina Buck


People’s Choice Winners:

Junior Category: : Vaiga Karthik

Secondary Primary Category: Anahid Andisheh Far

Senior Category: Raaid Ahmed Mollah


People’s Choice Prize

Everyone who voted in the People’s Choice Competition between 30 August and 9 September went into the draw to win an iPad Air 2.

Winner – Zsolt Nemes from Maroubra, NSW

Entries are still available to view here.

Don’t forget to collect a Certificate of Recognition from your CLA school.

Alternatively, you can download your Certificate of Recognition, fill in your name and print off at home.


SBS Judging Panel

Mandi Wicks, Director of Audio and Language Content at SBS


Mandi Wicks is the Director of Audio and Language Content, SBS Radio, and has been with SBS for nearly six years. SBS Radio includes eight radio networks – five focusing on Australian news and information in language and three music networks – SBS PopAsia, SBS PopDesi and SBS Chill.

Mandi has more than 25 years’ experience in the media industry, working at four of Australia’s leading networks (SBS, Macquarie, Southern Cross Austereo and Nova Entertainment). She worked as a journalist for 10 years before moving into senior management roles.

SBS is dedicated to connecting communities through multilingual conversations across all platforms and devices, in order to inspire social cohesion in Australia.

Benjamin Law, TV screenwriter, Newspaper Columnist and Author


Benjamin Law is a Sydney-based TV screenwriter, newspaper columnist and the author of two books: The Family Law (2010) and Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012). He’s also the co-author of the comedy book Shit Asian Mothers Say (2014) with his sister Michelle and illustrator Oslo Davis.

Both of his books have been nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards. The Family Law is now a major SBS TV series and Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East was published in India in 2013 and North America in 2014.

Benjamin has a PhD in writing and cultural studies and lives in Sydney.

Heba Kassoua, SBS Arabic24 Presenter


Heba Kassoua moved to Australia from Syria in 2005 at the age of 16. She holds a Masters in Interpreting and Translation, NAATI level 3 from the University of Western Sydney and a Bachelor of Arts Government and International Relations, Arabic and Islamic Studies, Arabic Literature at the University of Sydney. She was a finalist in the SBS Youth Power Writing Competition in 2006 and won the Dean's Medal for Academic Excellence in her Masters in 2014.

Prior to joining SBS Arabic24, Heba worked as a research assistant, an interpreter and a translator. She is passionate about politics, poetry and photography. 

Heba presents the drive show ‘Marhaba Australia’ on SBS Arabic24 weekdays from 4pm.

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