A volunteer organisation that established a solidarity walk confronting racism and discrimination has received top honours at the 2017 Premier’s Harmony Dinner.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian presented the Stepan Kerkyasharian AO Harmony Award to the Moving Forward Together Association at an event at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse.
“The Moving Forward Together Association is run by volunteers who devote their lives to promoting fairness, harmony and respect, and the annual Harmony Walk brings people from all walks of life together in spirit of unity and solidarity,” Berejiklian said.
“I also congratulate all recipients of tonight’s Multicultural Community Medals for their dedicated work towards making our society more peaceful, tolerant and inclusive.”
Chair of the Association and Founder of the Harmony Walk Ernie Friedlandler OAM is a Holocaust survivor who received an Order of Australia medal in 2006 for leading projects to confront racism.
The Moving Forward Together Association also manages a state-wide harmony poster and song competition which receives up to 6000 entries from NSW school students annually.
Minister for Multiculturalism Ray Williams said the Premier’s Harmony Dinner, now in its sixth year, is a celebration of NSW’s cultural diversity.
“The medallists recognised tonight are truly remarkable. They are the faces of the often unsung and humble work of members of our community,” Williams said.
“This event showcases the very best of our society coming together.”
Premier’s Multicultural Community Medals
Mohamed Hage – Economic Participation
Australian Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry NSW Chairman Mohammed Hage has used his strategic vision and extensive networks to strengthen trade and investment between NSW and the Gulf Corporation Council region including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait.
Robbie Mackinlay – Regional Communities Medal
Robbie Mackinlay is a Cricket Development Manager in the Murray Region for Cricket NSW. He formed the Albury Bhutanese Cricket team made up of young Bhutanese refugees and has also been involved with Cricket NSW and Cricket Albury Wodonga to create the 2017 inaugural Bhutanese Big Bash League.
Khushaal Vyas – Youth Medal
Khushaal Vyas was a member of the Fairfield City Council Youth Advisory Committee who worked on planning and delivering a number of festivals in the Local Government Area.
Carolina Triana – Arts and Culture Medal
Carolina Triana is a dedicated advocate for multicultural artists in NSW. She initiated several ground-breaking arts programs including the New Beginnings, a Refugee Arts and Culture Festival and the Refugee Forum 2016. Both events created employment opportunities for people from refugee backgrounds and showcased their artistic talents.
Dr Xue Feng Zhang (Commendation)
Dr Xue Feng Zhang is the Principal of the Sydney Datong Chinese School and Chairman of the NSW Chinese Language Education Council, which runs the National Chinese Eisteddfod. The Eisteddfod is one of the largest language events outside China, attracting more than 2,500 entrants across NSW.
Antoinette Abdelseed – Lifetime Community Service
Antionette Abdelseed is the founder and director of Angels of Mercy Welfare Services that delivers mobile services to emerging communities from African and Arabic backgrounds. She has spent 30 years working to help vulnerable families and disadvantaged communities across Sydney.
Moving Forward Together Association – Stepan Kerkyasharian AO Harmony Award
A dedicated team of volunteers established the Moving Forward Together project to combat racism and promote harmony and cooperation between organisations and individuals. The annual Harmony Walk and Harmony Poster and Song Writing Competition engages a wide range of community members across Sydney to address racism and discrimination.
Karim (Ken) Habak OAM – Human Rights Medal
Ken Habak is the Chairperson of the Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra. For more than 45 years Ken has advocated for and supported the rights of the individuals and communities who have made a substantial contribution to multicultural affairs in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven region.
Multicultural Honour Roll
Charlie Lowles OAM
Charlie Lowles OAM was a long-term Councillor and former Mayor of the City of Blacktown. Charlie was an advocate for the people of his local community in Mount Druitt and established local forums to promote intercultural understanding and social cohesion.
Boutros (Peter) Indari
Peter Indari was the first professional Arabic journalist in Australia and a pioneer of Arabic media, including El Telegraph and later An Nahar.
Shmouel (Sam) Warda
Sam Warda arrived in Australia in 1965 and volunteered in several community organisations including the Assyrian Australian Association, the Assyrian Universal Alliance and the Assyrian Sports and Cultural Club.
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