How it started

Rabi Nemrod Simono, a distinguished Assyrian scholar from Iran and one of the giants of Assyrian literature in the twentieth century, came to Australia in 1985 as a guest of the Assyrian Australian Association (AAA) in Sydney. The main purpose of his visit was to conduct a course in the Assyrian language and to deliver a series of lectures on Assyrian history and culture to the Assyrian communities in Sydney and Melbourne. The Assyrian language course, which covered such subjects as an introduction to Modern Assyrian Grammar and teaching methodology, was conducted at Fairfield High School from 22nd April 1985 to 6th August 1985.

The AAA decided to honour Rabi Simono and to commemorate his historic first visit to Australia by establishing an educational scholarship and naming it after him – Rabi Nemrod Simono Scholarship.


The first and founding Scholarship Committee, chaired by the late Dr Albert Daoud, was set up in 1986 to administer and run the Scholarship under a set of guidelines, which are updated from time to time.

Under the current guidelines, eligibility is open to all Higher School Certificate (HSC) students who have at least one Assyrian parent.

Each year, three students with the highest HSC aggregate (now called ATAR) are chosen to receive the Scholarship, provided that they are prepared to pursue higher studies at a university. In conjunction, the efforts of all other applicants will be recognized with a consolation award. The one-off scholarship payments for the last two years have been: $1,500 for the first student, $1,000 for the second student and $500 for the third student…

The Scholarship recipients must undertake to learn to read and write the Assyrian language.

Whilst the Scholarship applicants or their parents are under no obligation to become members of the Assyrian Australian Association, they are urged and encouraged to join, support and be active in the Assyrian community organisation of their choice, especially after they complete their university studies and pursue their chosen career paths.

What are its aims

The main aims of the scholarship, as laid out by the late Dr Daoud and members of the founding Scholarship Committee were and still are:

  1. To enhance in our Assyrian children a sense of self-esteem and to encourage them to gain knowledge and skills in their chosen fields of learning.
  2. To develop awareness among the younger generation and to demonstrate to them that our Assyrian community and organisations want them to achieve excellence in all fields of education.
  3. To promote community involvement and contribution, both materially and morally, and to encourage young people to pursue higher studies beyond secondary school studies.
  4. To develop in the young people a sense of belonging and responsibility to their community.
  5. To develop in the young people a sense of personal worthiness through their acceptance and appreciation of and pride in their Assyrian cultural background.

As can be seen from the aims listed above, the main theme and thrust of the scheme is education. The AAA is proud to have supported and encouraged education amongst our young people since its establishment in 1969. Education enriches an individual’s life, and a society or community were educated people abound is a happier and more enlightened society.

The five aims listed above also clearly demonstrate the AAA’s desire to encourage a generation of educated people in our community so that they will be well equipped to lead a more fulfilling life and be of more value both to their community and their country.

Another significant aim of the scholarship was to honour a distinguished educator in our Assyrian nation. Rabi Nimrod Simono, who passed away in Tehran, Iran on 26th July 2004 at the age of 96, devoted well in excess of 60 years of his life serving our nation in the field of Assyrian language and literature. For brief biographical details and details of his contribution, see paragraphs below.

We would like to see more involvement from the close to 60 recipients of the scholarship and future recipients. It is not enough to see a few of them involved on the Scholarship Committee. We would love to see all of them to be more visibly active and proactive in the wider community. We would like to see more of them involved in our community organisations, on our radio and television programs. The community needs their skills and their enlightened leadership.

Rabi Nimrod Simono Scholarship brings together three of the essential elements that help to bring about a civilised life and a civilised society: education, the educated and the educators. The establishment of the Scholarship must be considered a noble achievement on the part of the AAA. Let us all support community organisations such as the AAA so that our Assyrian communities will continue to harvest the fruits of this noble trilogy, education, the educated and the educators, for many and many more years to come.

Who was Rabi Nemrod Simono

Rabi Nemrod Simono was born in 1908 in Goolizan, an Assyrian village in the district of Salamas in Iran. He passed away in the city of Tehran Iran on 26 July 2004 at the age of 96 and is survived by his widow, Mrs Liza Mar Yousip Simono and one daughter in Tehran Iran, one daughter and one son in France and one daughter in the USA.

He completed his primary and secondary schooling at a school run by the Catholic Church Missionaries. From 1923 to 1931 he studied at the Catholic Seminary in the city of Urmia. In 1931 he was sent to Paris to further his studies in theology at Catholic theological institutions. In 1934 he moved to another Theological College at Dax in France. In 1938 he spent one year at the Dominican University in Rome where he furthered his studies in the fields of theology and philosophy before returning to Iran.

Upon his return to Iran, the young educated Nemrod Simono was meant to devote his life in the service of the Church as a priest. However, this was not to be. Instead, he started devoting his knowledge and energies to the advancement of the Assyrian language and literature.

Rabi Simono was considered an authority on the Assyrian language (in both its Classic and Modern versions).

During the years of his studies in France and Italy he mastered the French, Italian and Latin languages. He is also fluent in the Persian and English languages.

Rabi Nemrod Simono’s contribution to Assyrian Literature

  1. From 1952 to 1961 he was a member of the Editorial Committee of the GILGAMESH literary Magazine, which was published in Teheran Iran. The other prominent members of the GILGAMESH family were another two giants of Assyrian language and literature, the late Rabi Addai Alkhas (who was the founder and proprietor of the magazine) and his brother, the late Jan Alkhas, whose most significant contribution to Assyrian literature was a series of poems under the title MIN TKHAREH D’TREEDEH.
  2. In 1969 he and the late Rabi Koorish Benyamin published GRAMMAR OF THE ASSYRIAN LANGUAGE AS SPOKEN IN URMIA.
  3. In 1974 he published VERBS AND DERIVATIVES IN TODAY’S ASSYRIAN LANGUAGE. This book has been translated into French.
  4. In 1981 he published a second edition of GRAMMAR OF THE ASSYRIAN LANGUAGE.
  5. In 1983 he published a new edition of SELECTED READINGS by the late Mar Toma Audo.
  6. In 1984 he published BIOGRAPHY OF PAUL BAIJAN (in Assyrian and Persian).
  7. In 1991 he published a book on the life and works of the Assyrian poet the late Jan Alkhas.
  9. In 2000 he published THE LIFE AND WORKS OF WILLIAM DANIEL (Assyrian author, poet and musician. The late Rabi William Daniel’s most well known musical work is the classic song of NINEVEH. His valuable contribution to the Assyrian literature includes the three-volume epic of KATINEH GABBARAH).
  10. Numerous articles on a wide range of topics including theology, history, literature and language have been published in Assyrian magazines all over the world, including The Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies.
  11. Numerous courses, seminars and lectures presented to Assyrian communities in Iran, USA and Australia.
  12. A large number of unpublished works including: The Life and works of William Sarmas and an English/Assyrian dictionary.