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2018 winners

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NSW Human Rights Medal

The NSW Human Rights Award pays tribute to a person who has made a meaningful and lasting contribution to the advancement of human rights. The NSW Government supports the tireless efforts of individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of those less fortunate and this award will provide an opportunity to recognise an exceptional individual in this field.

The award was established in recognition of Swedish diplomat, Raoul Wallenberg, who personally saved tens of thousands of lives during the Holocaust.

WINNER: Angela Manson

Angela Manson has been working with migrant communities as an interpreter, educator, and advocate for over 40 years. She has taught "Cross Cultural Skills" and "Cross-Cultural Communication" and has lectured Health Care Interpreters on "The Ethics of the Profession". She has worked for the Attorney General's Department, contributing to the development of policies relating to "Access to Legal Matters facing Ethnic Women". She developed the "Standard Procedures" document for the use of Health Care Interpreters and she set up the Multicultural Disaster Counselling team for the Central Sydney Area Health Service. As the Director of Multicultural Health Services, she established the Refugee Health Assessment Clinic at Canterbury Community Health Centre and she continues to work with diverse communities and other relevant organisations servicing refugee communities and asylum seekers


Regional Communities Medal


This award recognises the contribution of an individual who has significantly benefited the economic, social and cultural wellbeing of a regional community of a particular cultural background or a number of different cultural communities in New South Wales.

WINNER: Promila Gupta

Promila Gupta is the President of the Indian Association of Newcastle Inc., editor of a leading national Indian newspaper, author of two cooking books and a chef with a Master’s Degree in Food & Nutrition. She teaches Indian Cooking courses at the local WEA Hunter campus and is a regular contributor to SBS Radio, broadcasting her recipes in Hindi. She has volunteered for the community in South Australia and regional NSW for over 33 years and runs her own business named ‘Promila’s Kitchen’. Promila’s story is one of nine that featured in Lake Mac Libraries' Lake Macquarie Migrant Stories video series, which was launched in 2015 at a Harmony Day event at The Place, Charlestown.


Youth Medal


In recognition of the valuable role of a young person in promoting intercultural dialogue and co-operation. The nominee must be younger than 25 years of age at the time of nomination.

WINNER: Bassam Maaliki

Bassam Maaliki, a 14-year-old student from Homebush Bay High School, is the founder of a social change campaign, #UBelongHere — a project aimed at fostering a culture of inclusiveness and multicultural harmony in the local community and around Australia. At 13 years of age, he was accepted into the NSW Junior Parliament and has since skilfully championed his own campaign in the community through handcrafting a badge that can be worn in solidarity with refugees, migrants and all people seeking asylum, Bassam runs local activities to share the message of belonging and has been a keynote speaker at the SSI Youth Welcome Dinner and FECCA Conference in 2017. He uses these keynote speeches to promote intercultural dialogue and co-operation between newly arrived and more established Australian communities.


Arts and Culture Medal


This award acknowledges the achievements of an individual who has enhanced the cultural and artistic life of New South Wales through the promotion of cultural understanding, information exchange and artistic endeavours within or between communities of different cultural and/or linguistic backgrounds.

WINNER: Shireen Taweel

Shireen Taweel is an emerging Western Sydney based artist, exploring her heritage, tradition, and community through her art. Her work incorporates copper-smithing and sculpture to create objects that reference Islamic Decorative Arts, her Lebanese heritage and cross-cultural experiences. Her work has been recognised by the arts industry through awards, residencies, and grants. It has fostered a dialogue into the multitude of multicultural experiences in Western Sydney, offering a fresh insight into Muslim identity.


Lifetime Community Service Medal


This award recognises an individual’s lifetime commitment to community service within a migrant community. The individual will have demonstrated exceptional commitment by providing outstanding and distinguished community service over an extended period of time. The contribution shall have had a significant impact on the social or cultural wellbeing of the community.

WINNER: Ambrose Dinh

Ambrose Quoc Hung Dinh arrived in Australia in June 1975 as a Vietnamese refugee. Only two months after arriving in Australia by boat, Mr. Dinh began assisting other Vietnamese refugees with their settlement in Australia through numerous organisations he founded. He was a programmer and presenter of Vietnamese language programs on SBS Radio and he assisted in establishing the Vietnamese Women's Association in NSW. Turning 80 this year, Mr. Dinh has given over 40 years of continuous service to his community and as the current President of The Vietnamese Australian Welfare Association of NSW, he continues to volunteer a significant amount of time in support of Vietnamese Australian families and newly arrived migrants from Vietnam.


Stepan Kerkyasharian AO Harmony Medal


This award recognises the contribution and achievement of an individual or organisation in facilitating and promoting social cohesion, understanding and acceptance between members of differing cultural or faith communities in New South Wales.

WINNER: Bilal El-Hayek

For the past five years, Bilal El-Hayek has worked as a Youth Coordinator at PCYC Bankstown to deliver the ‘Bankstown Connect’ Family Program, supporting newly arrived families and others experiencing economic disadvantage. He also developed a year-long leadership program called “Blue Crescent” for 20, predominantly Muslim, males aged 15 – 18 years, to become actively engaged in their community. Bilal has been a driving force behind the WISE UP project to improve social skills and educational engagement for disengaged youth. For the past three years, he has orchestrated the gathering of over 200 business, political and community leaders to attend an IFTAR dinner hosted by PCYC Bankstown.