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The Professor Being Titled An Aussie Legend

Associate Professor Munjed Al Muderis arrived in Australia by a people smuggler’s boat. The former refugee is the 2020 NSW Australian of the Year.

His story began in Iraq and after arriving in Australia he spent ten months in WA’s Curtin Immigration Detention Centre.

The Project spoke to Professor Al Muderis about his time in detention, “I must admit the experience has shaped me and I wasted a lot of time, a lot of tax payers’ money by doing nothing in the detention centre. It was, it was hell on earth but I knew that outside the walls of the detention centre Australia’s different and I’m, and I’m right, I was right. Australia is a very welcoming country.”

“What I did as soon as I left is um turn my back to the past never felt grudges and just decided that life is too short and we need to live and we need to have a positive impact on the, in the society."

Munjed Al Muderis did just that, he first began working in regional hospitals. However even when he qualified as an orthopaedic surgeon he wasn’t always accepted.

“Two of my peers that approached me and to my face they said isn’t it a shame that the orthopaedic training scheme has dropped so low to allow a refugee to be one of us,” Munjed told the Project. His reaction was to take the high road.

I mean I looked at them and basically I felt very sorry for, for people who think that way

The Professor stated that he worked very hard to prove to himself before anybody else that he deserved to be treated equally “because there is no room for racism among us, there is no room for hate”.

Munjed has since pioneered osseo-intergration a life changing development for amputees.

A rod is first inserted into the patient’s bone and once healed, a new robotic limb can be fitted, which means patients are walking once again. The technique is so successful Munjed was invited back to the country he fled - to help their many thousands of amputees.

“Over the last couple of years I’ve been I think 8 or 9 times to Iraq and we carried on over 600 operations and so far on average we do 50 to 80 cases like operating every visit,” Al Munderis told The Project.

Munjed Al Muderis is in the running to be Australian of the year, which will be announced on January 25. The Project asked how he felt about being considerd for such a title.

“There are a lot of people that I see every day from the cleaner in, in the operating theatre to the lab technician to the radiographer to the, to the professor of neurology, a lot of them deserve to be Australians of the year,” Munjed stated.

You can catch more of this story on The Project tonight, 6.30PM AEDT