Pierre Johannessen
Chancellor's Young Alumni Award Winner

Bachelor of Communications & Journalism, 2003, Bachelor of Laws, 2007

Born in Iran during a deadly war, Pierre was raised with a great appreciation of culture, world politics, and the resilience of the human spirit. Moving to various countries and picking up a few languages in the process, Pierre finally landed in Canberra. Specialising in communications, journalism, and law, Pierre graduated from UC in 2003 and again in 2007. During his time at UC, Pierre served as the 2002 President of the prestigious Isaacs Law Society and won UC's Leadership Award twice during his time as a student. Pierre also holds an award from the prestigious Université Paris-I Sorbonne.

After graduating from UC, Pierre served as a Project Manager with Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh as part of the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development program, before joining the family firm Johannessen Legal and also becoming the CEO of Big Bang Ballers, an international not for profit which combines basketball, education, youth development and poverty alleviation.

Since taking over as CEO, Pierre has helped Big Bang Ballers increase their revenue by 300 percent and increased the organizational outreach from 1 country to 12. Big Bang Ballers is now runs 29 programs in countries such as Bangladesh, Senegal, Nepal, Afghanistan, Uganda and the Philippines. They have catered to more than 46 000 children; created Bangladesh's first Basketball League, built basketball courts, and donated more than $280 000 worth of equipment and resources to orphanages, schools and charities aimed at youth.

Using basketball to tackle youth poverty and social disadvantage, Big Bang Ballers seeks to unify people, removing the inevitable divides between classes and social groups, and instead teaching the importance and value of teamwork. Most importantly, amidst the struggle of daily life, Big Bang Ballers provide an outlet for those children least able to be children.

For his achievements as a business leader, Pierre won the 2010 ACT Young Australian of the Year award. He was also nominated for an International Peace & Sport Awards for the achievements of his organization.


Law; Media and Communications