Now in its eighth year, Parramasala celebrates the cultural diversity of NSW through music, dance, theatre, food and film, representing more than 40 nationalities. Minister for Multiculturalism Ray Williams announced the additional funding during the 2018 program launch—‘Many Cultures. One Sydney’. “Parramasala is a vibrant festival showcasing Western Sydney’s extraordinary multicultural identity, and its growth as an economic and social hub.” Read the media release here
In November 2016, the Multicultural NSW Advisory Board conducted a regional tour to Wollongong. The tours allow the Advisory Board to actively engage with regional communities and support the work of the Multicultural NSW facilitated Regional Advisory Councils. The day-tour included visits to Sri Venkateswara Temple, Nan Tien temple, the University of Wollongong, Wollongong City Council and Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra (MCCI).
After a warm masala-chai welcome from Executive Management Committee member Nama Namashivayam and his wife Sashy, the Advisory Board members were received by Priest Siva with a Puja prayer ritual. Attendees held their hands over the sacred flame, were anointed with Vibuthi (holy ash) and were spiritually welcomed to the temple. The tour received knowledge of the altars, deities, the building (consecrated in 1985) and the local Hindu community. The Advisory Board were introduced to the Sri Venkateswara Temple canteen a volunteer-run initiative that supports the community at the temple.
The next stop was Nan Tien Temple or “Southern Paradise” that practices Fo Guang Buddhism. Their welcoming Venerables from the Buddhist Light International Association Sydney and Advisory Board members showed the Multicultural NSW visitors around the vast complex. Sites visited included the Main Shrine or “Great Hero Hall” that is watched over by five great Buddas. The five Buddhas represent Confidence, Longevity, Wisdom, Inner Beauty and Peace and are surrounded by 10,000 smaller Buddha statues. At the Shrine, each attendee was presented with a lit lotus candle to present to the altar as a light offering, in a reverent display of unification. The visit educated our board about the Nan Tien Institute specialising in post-graduate study and the temple’s community engagement practices for the wider Illawarra community.
After lunch, the tour travelled to The University of Wollongong to be welcomed by the Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Chandler. After touring the grounds (past the infamous campus ducks!) the group entered the “Migration to the Illawarra” exhibition. Franca Facci, Migrant Heritage Project Chairperson and University of Wollongong Archives Manager Kerry Ross introduced the project. The walls, lined with colourful displays of family photos of the early community, included stories of migrants from Macedonia, Malta, Austria and many more. The exhibition is a beautiful display of the Illawarra’s diverse cultural heritage.
A Civic Reception hosted by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Gordon Bradbery OAM, was held at Wollongong City Council to preview the U & Me project ahead of its March 2017 release. Multicultural NSW had awarded a grant to the Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra to fund the project. Sandra Pires from WHY documentaries introduced and presented two beautiful short films that showcased friendships of people from culturally diverse backgrounds. Audience members commended the inspirational nature and uplifting messages the films displayed.
The final stop for the day was the Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra. The tour had been lucky to have had the company of their Chairperson Mr Ken Habak OAM and General Manager Chris Lacey joining them for the day and sites prior. Now at the MCCI office-site, the tour was shown around the heritage-listed office building on Corrimal St while acknowledging the long-standing relationship between Multicultural NSW and MCCI. Some of the many local initiatives and community support programs, including a free meeting place for many emerging community groups, were recognised and appreciated by the board.
The Multicultural NSW Advisory Board would like to thank the communities and organisations of Wollongong that provided them with such an enriching experience.
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Watch video here
Multicultural NSW conducts meetings in metropolitan and regional areas to engage with communities, highlight the benefits of cultural diversity, and promote the work of Multicultural NSW. These engagements are directly linked to Multicultural NSW’s legislated remit to engage with metropolitan and regional areas and support the work of the Multicultural NSW Advisory Board and Regional Advisory Councils. This years metropolitan visit was to Blacktown.
Towards the end of 2016 Multicultural NSW was privileged to receive multiple visits from distinguished international guests from all corners of the world, including from Egypt, Brazil and Kuwait. Each distinguished guest was introduced to the role of Multicultural NSW in promoting social cohesion and community harmony by CEO Hakan Harman. His Excellency Ambassador to Egypt Mohamed Khairat spoke passionately about encouraging Australian Egyptian youth engagement and creating intergeneration connections. Kuwait’s Ambassador to Australia His Excellency Najeeb A. Al-Bader said he was proud his Government was supporting a sizeable cohort of international students in Australia who with subsidised fees. He spoke highly of Australia’s education system and noted he would like to foster stronger cultural links with international students and the domestic students and the wider population. Ambassador to Brazil His Excellency Manuel Innocencio de Lacerda Santos Júnior spoke about Brazilian multiculturalism as a melting pot of cultures and said there was many things both Brazil and Australia could learn from one another’s multicultural policies. He said he was eager to from stronger links with the Brazilian community.
We thank all our guests for the year and are looking forward to welcoming many people to our new office in Parramatta in 2017.
Four master classes were held on Early and Forced Marriage in 2016 and one hundred and sixty child protection caseworkers and managers attended from Family and Community Services (FACS) and NGOs.
These sessions were provided by Gabrielle Fakhri, from the Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights in Melbourne.
Gabrielle gave valuable insight into the culture and marriage practices in communities where underage marriage can occur. She discussed ways for caseworkers to identify where a young person is at risk of being married under age or against their will, and strategies to keep the young person safe and to work with the families.
Social commentator Anne Summers attended one of the sessions, with Helen Rogers, Executive Director Participation and Inclusion, and Kate Alexander, Executive Director, Office of the Senior Practitioner.
The Australian Federal Police, Anti-Slavery Australia (University of Technology) and FACS Helpline and JIRT also provided information on legal and case practice issues.
Our Advisory Board Member Dai Le has a remarkable life story to tell about escaping Vietnam by boat and beating cancer.
NSW Department of Family and Community Services presents the Mary Dimech Multicultural Awards each year, to recognise FACS staff who do outstanding work with multicultural clients and communities.
This year the team award was won by James Butler and Caree-Ann Alfred of FACS Hunter – New England district, for organising a CALD Child Protection Forum on collaboration and practice.
With the help of the District’s Multicultural Advisory Committee, over ninety people attended from a range of non-government and government services. People at the forum said that from the day they had a much better understanding of what child protection caseworkers do, and how to work with FACS and migrant and mainstream services, to support multicultural families.
The Multicultural Awards were presented to the winners by FACS Secretary Michael Coutts-Trotter, at an event for Harmony Day, at FACS Central Office in Ashfield.
Multicultural Awards team winner 2016
22 October 2016
Multicultural NSW staff joined together with hundreds of others for Walk Together 2016. Held annually, the event brings together thousands of people in cities across Australia to celebrate diversity and make a loud declaration that we are a nation known for our compassion, generosity and welcome.
In Sydney, participants walked from Belmore Park to Victoria Park, holding ‘Welcome’ signs in a range of languages and greeting interested passers-by with an accompaniment of African drumming. It was fantastic to walk amongst such a diverse range of people, united by their commitment to Australia’s cultural diversity.
As a proud sponsor of the day, Multicultural NSW congratulates Welcome to Australia and its organisers on a successful and positive event.
6 October 2016
The Minister for Multiculturalism, John Ajaka MLC, officially launched the JH Kids program in Woollahra on Thursday 6 October. Jewish House developed the program to help children under 12 achieve their best outcomes by overcoming problems and working with play, art and exercise therapy.
The Minister took the time to talk to parents, children and therapists during his visit, saying he appreciated the efforts of Jewish House to shelter homeless people and their pets, while also helping anyone in the community with counselling, crisis intervention, shelter and support.
25 September 2016
Multicultural NSW Advisory Board Chair Dr G.K.Harinath relived his memories of arriving in Australia as a migrant with just 50 cents in his pocket at an unveiling ceremony for the Welcome Wall at the Australian National Maritime Museum on Sunday 25 September. This stands in honour of those who came to Australia from overseas.
Australians are invited to pay tribute to migrant family members and friends by having their names inscribed on the broze panel wall. There are more than 27,000 names on the wall and the museum unveiled another 600 names on Sunday. Dr Harinath outlined his perspetive of settling into a new country, and thanked migrants for their outstanding commitment to Australian values and community harmony.
12 September 2016
The inaugural AFL Multicultural NSW Harmony Award was presented at the Phelan Mostyn Medal Presentation night in Sydney. Congratulations to the Auburn Giants Australian Football club who was awarded the Senior Club category for encouraging young women to participate in AFL. Congratulations also to Bankstown Sports Bull Sharks for engaging with diverse communities in South West Sydney.
9 August 2016
Ambassador to the Czech Republic His Excellency Martin Pohl recently met with Multicultural NSW Chief Executive Officer Hakan Harman. His Excellency spoke about the thousands of Australians with Czech and former Czechoslovakian ancestry who are raised as “good Australians with Czech spirit”. He told the stories of some recognised Czech Australians noting especially the winemaker Mr Josef Chromy, who produces Joseph Chromy Wines in Tasmania, and the late Mr George Chaloupka who was an expert in Indigenous Australian rock art. The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) recognises Mr Chaloupka’s legacy with a scholarship in honour of his work for the study of Indigenous rock art. Mr Harman noted that although the Czech community is small in New South Wales, Multicultural NSW was actively engaging with smaller communities where linguistic barriers and an ageing population were growing challenges and he looked forward to more engagement with the Czech community.
15 July 2016
Multicultural NSW hosted a traditional Talanoa, a gathering to tell stories, where young people of Pacific Island, Maori and Indigenous descent came together to discuss youth leadership and the #FistsDown campaign. #FistsDown is a youth-led campaign by the NSW Council of Pacific Communities (NSWCPC) which seeks to prevent youth violence and imprisonment through grassroots youth engagement.
Young #FistsDown Ambassadors discussed how to promote anti-violence messages among youth using social media and grassroots engagement strategies. Multicultural NSW Director Community Engagement Megan Lancaster attended the Talanoa and said was a pleasure to host so many passionate and engaged young people who are committed to making a difference in their communities. The Talanoa was held in the lead up to Sydney Pacifica, Australia’s largest multicultural festival involving high schools throughout Sydney with Pacific, New Zealand, Maori and Indigenous students.
28 May & 4 June 2016
Multicultural NSW, through its online project, The Point Magazine have recently teamed up with FBi Radio’s current affairs program Backchat, ABC 7.30 and Triple J’s Hack program, ANU, and BYDS to present ‘Outskirts Reporting: A Masterclass in Community Journalism’. During a two week period in June and July we selected a group of thirteen young aspiring media types from all over Sydney based on their story pitches. We developed and supported emerging young media professionals from culturally diverse backgrounds who produced their own audio media interventions into current topical issues like violent extremism, race, and diversity in journalism. We now have a broad, exciting range of stories from personal tales of growing up in Sydney’s western suburbs, to stories about the growing hip hop scene, to council clashes with mosque proposals. They’ll be appearing across The Point Magazine and FBi radio in the coming month so stay tuned.
Find out more
11 May 2016
Multicultural NSW Chief Executive Officer Hakan Harman was delighted to welcome Ambassador to Guatemala Her Excellency Connie Taracena.
Mr Harman and Ms Taracena discussed Guatemala’s increased integration in the Australia-Pacific region and issues of common interest such as Indigenous affairs, Guatemalans in Australia and the diverse cultural heritage of both countries.
Ms Tarcena explained the rich Indigenous heritage and traditions of Guatemalans.
Almost 40% of the population are Indigenous and there are 22 different ethnic groups with most Maya descendants.
“Indigenous people still participate in their traditional culture and worship in temples and sacred sites. It is still a very living culture in Guatemala,” Ms Tarcena said.
The first Embassy of the Republic of Guatemala opened late last year in Canberra. Ms Tarcena spoke about the increasing connections between Australia and Guatemala in Indigenous affairs.
Aboriginal Australian constitutional lawyer Professor Megan Davis is currently the chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu Tum was in Australia last year to discuss global Indigenous affairs.
Mr Harman explained the role of Multicultural NSW in unifying all residents of the state and understanding our Aboriginal, settler and migrant heritage.
“Our door is open to everybody in New South Wales, we come from 245 ancestries, speak over 200 different languages and Multicultural NSW is here to bring every element of our history together,” Mr Harman said.
“We are always looking to other countries as partners to understand what we can learn to improve social cohesion and inclusion across all cultures.
The Guatemalan Embassy is looking to get in touch with Guatemalans in Australia and Australians with Guatemalan ancestry because there is no such data in the Australian census.
Ms Tarcena also noted the Embassy was delighted to participate in Canberra’s 2016 Multicultural Festival for the first time earlier this year.
4 May 2016
Multicultural NSW Chief Executive Officer Hakan Harman warmly welcomed the Canadian High Commissioner His Excellency Paul Maddison and Ms Sharon Pinney from the Consulate-General of Canada.
Mr Harman and Mr Maddison discussed the shared experiences of Australia and Canada as multicultural migrant nations and identified areas for future partnerships and knowledge-sharing such as humanitarian resettlement, countering violent extremism and Indigenous affairs.
“Australia was the second state in the world to adopt multiculturalism as a policy after Canada,” said Mr Harman.
“Australia and Canada share the same outlook that multiculturalism is not assimilation or tribalism, but the ability to be proudly Australian and at the same time retain, value and celebrate your diverse background.”
Canada has welcomed over 26,000 refugees since the government announced its additional Syrian humanitarian intake in November last year.
Mr Maddison said he was committed to sharing Canada’s experience in resettling recent humanitarian arrivals with the New South Wales government as it continues to welcome refugees from Syria and Iraq.
“Sharing Canada’s evidence-based humanitarian settlement story and how we can learn from the Canadian experience will be a valuable tool for our current settlement work across the state,” said Mr Harman.
Countering violent extremism was identified as an area of future strategic partnership. Mr Maddison spoke of the success of the Canada-Australia countering violent extremism and radicalisation symposium at Griffith University earlier this year.
“The experience was extraordinarily positive. It enabled trust-based, honest but respectful discussions and there are many important lessons our two countries can share in this area,” said Mr Maddison.
Mr Maddison was interested in Multicultural NSW’s overall work in promoting social cohesion and community harmony and its Harmony in Action strategy. Mr Harman noted the agency’s ongoing efforts to create partnerships across sister organisations in like-minded countries and said he looked forward to working further with Canada in the future.
27 JUNE 2015
The Chief Executive Officer of Multicultural NSW, Hakan Harman, has welcomed the opening of the Waratah-Mayfield Multicultural Men’s Shed in the Hunter Region of NSW “We were delighted to be able to assist in funding this very worthwhile project with a $20,000 grant under our Community Building Partnership fund.
The significance of the project was underscored by the presence of the Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove who officially opened the facility, accompanied by Lady Lynne Cosgrove on Saturday, June 27, 2015.
“The WMMMS is an exciting concept that will bring together men from across a wide area of the Hunter to share their migration experiences, their wisdom and their skills
“I warmly congratulate the Ethnic Communities Council of Newcastle and the Hunter Region (ECCNHR) who have raised the majority of the funding to plan, build and equip the men’s shed, over a three year period”, Mr Harman said.
28 MAY 2015
More than thirty aspiring journalists from western Sydney enthusiastically joined in discussion on the challenges facing journalists when reporting on issues relating to multiculturalism at the Young Media Makers Forum - Get smart with the Point Magazine.The forum was jointly organised by Multicultural NSW and the Bankstown Arts Centre.
Students from a number of journalism schools across the Sydney region heard from a panel of successful mainstream journalists, all from migrant background, who revealed their own pathways into the profession and subsequent strategies when reporting on racial and religious minority groups.
27 MAY 2015
The management and staff of Multicultural NSW celebrated National Reconciliation Week 2015 with guests from the community sector and various Government agencies. The gathering was addressed by Multicultural NSW Advisory Board member, Steve Widders, who spoke on the theme of National Reconciliation Week 2015, It's time to change it up.Mr Widders is a Member of the National NAIDOC Committee and a Member of the First Peoples' Disability Network.
He reminded his audience that Australia's indigenous communities were already very multicultural and diverse before immigrants arrived from other parts of the world. So, he said, the waves of new people who arrived here only broadened the concept of multiculturalism.
21 MAY 2015
Nearly a hundred young people from many community backgrounds have come together in the western Sydney suburb of Mt Druitt to improve their networking opportunities, to work together for change and to seek more youth services.
The event was jointly hosted by Multicultural NSW’s Multicultural Youth Network (MYN) and Blacktown City Council’s Youth Advisory Sub-committee.
The Mayor of Blacktown City Council, Councillor Stephen Bali and the Advocate for Children and Young People, Andrew Johnson, heard the local youth detail the daily challenges they face.
18 MAY 2015
The Minister for Multiculturalism, John Ajaka, tonight announced three awards on behalf of Multicultural NSW at the annual Premier's Literary Awards ceremony, at the State Library in Sydney.
The Multicultural NSW Literary Award was shared by Dr Matthew Klugman, Research Fellow at Victoria University and Gary Osmond, Senior Lecturer in Sport History at Queensland University, who co-wrote Black and Proud: The Story of an iconic AFL photo which explores racism in sport and in the wider community.
Monash University Emeritus Professor in the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Brian Nelson, was named winner of the prestigious NSW Premier's Prize for Translation. A new Early Career Translators Prize worth $5000 was also presented at the ceremony. The winner was Dr Lilit Zekulin Thwaites of La Trobe University (Honorary Research Associate) for a body of work that has included the translation from Spanish of two science fiction novels –Tears in Rain and The Immortal Collection.
6 MAY 2015
The Chief Executive Officer of Multicultural NSW, Hakan Harman, was part of a lively gathering of local communities in multicultural Marrickville, this week, billed as Cultural Bridges 2015.
Organised by Community and Cultural Connections Incorporated (CCCI), Cultural Bridges 2015 was designed to showcase culture and exchange.
27 APRIL 2015
The newly appointed NSW Minister for Multiculturalism, John Ajaka, visited the Head Office of Multicultural NSW in Sydney.
The Minister was introduced to the staff by Chief Executive Officer, Hakan Harman, and engaged in discussion on specific work being undertaken by the agency across the NSW community.Mr Ajaka expressed his interest in focussing on projects that promote and safeguard community harmony.
25 MARCH 2015
The Chief Executive Officer of Multicultural NSW, Hakan Harman participated in a forum Volunteering for All - Trends and Tips organised by the Centre for Volunteering – the peak body in NSW promoting volunteering and community participation.
Speakers from Settlement Service International, Football United and the Centre for Volunteering were also part of the panel.
16 MARCH 2015
The University of Technology, Sydney, marked Harmony Week 2015 with the launch of its commitment to the Racism It stops With Me Campaign.
Speaking at the UTS launch, the Chief Executive Officer of Multicultural NSW, Hakan Harman, said: "My agency joined this campaign in March 2014 because we saw it as central to our core function of promoting and protecting community harmony.
26 FEBRUARY 2015
Multicultural NSW Chief Executive Officer, Hakan Harman, met with a delegation of emerging young leaders, predominately young Muslims from Southern Thailand.
The meeting was a part of the Australia-Thailand Institute Next generation Community Leaders Visit 2015.
Discussion focussed on multiculturalism in New South Wales and community relations.
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