Six people were honoured for exemplary service to multiculturalism in NSW at the Premier’s Harmony Dinner at Rosehill last night.
Winners of the Premier’s multicultural community medals received their awards in front of over 900 guests at Rosehill Racecourse, including federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Citizenship and Communities Minister Victor Dominello described the recipients as “champions of multiculturalism”.
“These awards celebrate the remarkable stories and achievements of these six individuals who have served their communities with honour and enriched our state’s cultural diversity,” Mr Dominello said.
“NSW is truly one of the most multicultural societies in the world, with 200 different languages spoken at home and over a quarter of our citizens born overseas. Ultimately what unites our culturally diverse communities is a sense of mutual respect and belonging through our shared Australian identity.”
Chair of the community relations commission Vic Alhadeff said the Premier’s Harmony Dinner, now in its third year, was an evening of colourful celebration and that people should be proud to live in a cohesive and respectful society “which has welcomed so many people from all over the world”.
In 2012, a multicultural honour board was inaugurated to posthumously record the names and achievements of significant immigrant pioneers.
“The inductees are all true pioneers and leaders among our different migrant communities. We recognise them tonight for their dedication to promoting harmony and unity in our community,” Mr Dominello said.
2014 Premier’s Multicultural Community Medals:
Stepan Kerkyasharian AO Harmony Award: Mr Syed Atiq Ul Hassan for his extraordinary effort in promoting Australian multiculturalism locally and internationally through multicultural events, forums and news media.
Youth Award: Mr Thamir Shamaon for his outstanding service as a young adult in community service and the promotion of multiculturalism.
Lifetime Community Service Award: Mr Jack Passaris for his commitment to community service and dedication to promoting social cohesion among members of different cultures and faiths for over 40 years.
Arts and Culture Award: Mr Joseph Tawadros for his outstanding skills in oud playing (a pear shaped string instrument) and his success in bringing commonality among communities of different ethnic backgrounds, culture and languages through music.
Regional Communities Award: Mr Frank Newah-Jarfoi for his great effort and success in building harmonious relations between the African community and wider community of Wagga Wagga.
Economic Participation Award: Ms Sonia Ortega for her outstanding achievement of Global Experience, which has placed over 65,000 international students in its home-stay program, which provides a secure and caring environment for students.
2014 Multicultural Honour Roll Inductees:
Dr Farid Farag MD (1927-2012) for his highly regarded work as a general surgeon and a community activist for over 40 years.
Ms Maddalena Gustin (1914-2003) for her work in the development of foreign language programming on Australian commercial radio in the late 1950s.
Ms Gloria Habbib (1949-2007) for her tireless work in advocating for cultural diversity and building the bridges between students, teachers, and parents from different cultural backgrounds and faiths.
Mr John Gebhardt (1947-2011) for his illustrious career as a teacher, educator and as a multicultural community advocate and tireless worker for the development of a multicultural NSW and Australia.