CELEBRATING WA’S CHAMPIONS OF MULTICULTURALISM

CELEBRATING WA’S CHAMPIONS OF MULTICULTURALISM

27 outstanding individuals and organisations recognised for their contribution to multiculturalism in WA Inspirational West Australians were last night recognised for their outstanding contribution towards multiculturalism as part of the Western Australian Multicultural Recognition Awards 2016.

The awards, which recognised 27 individuals, organisations and community groups, considered achievements over eight categories including individual contribution, lifetime service, volunteering, local government, private sector, marketing, and arts and culture.

At the launch of Harmony Week 2016, Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister Mike Nahan said the breadth and depth of the 27 individuals and organisations recognised reflected the State’s diverse and dynamic community.

“These awards are a clear statement of the importance of recognising what is done, often behind the scenes, to ensure WA’s cultural diversity continues to flourish,” Mr Nahan said.

“Those being recognised represent cultures from around the world and bring a rich diversity and experience to benefit all Western Australians.

“From individuals working at a grassroots level to organisations incorporating the principles of multiculturalism in their day-to-day business, it is clear there is a thriving commitment across the community to build on our rich and proud multicultural traditions.

“It is fitting we are recognising this work at the beginning of Harmony Week, which is a time when we reflect on the importance of cross-cultural understanding.  Harmony Week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits that culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) communities bring to WA.”

The State Government, through the Office of Multicultural Interests’ Community Grants Program, is supporting a number of Harmony Week activities including Albany’s Harmony Day Bazaar; the Mirrabooka Harmony Day; Harmony Week Cultural Evening 2016 for CaLD Youth, a series of small events hosted by the Australian Asian Association of WA; MyBentley, where students from Bentley Primary School and Al Hidayah Islamic School help develop a community storybook; and the Indian Festival 2016, a one-day, family friendly community event being held in Joondalup.

Fact File

Harmony Week runs from today to March 21, 2016
Minister’s office – 6552 5700

2016 WA Multicultural Recognition Awards Winners

Outsanding individual achievement award (two winners)

Eva Mwakichako, City of Stirling Multicultural Project Officer

Eva’s role involves identifying and implementing strategies to engage with CaLD community members.  She encourages whole-of-community participation in a number of events and initiatives that she organises, and works to remove cultural barriers through communications and activities. Going above and beyond the scope of her role. Eva commits herself to the different cultural groups to understand and respond to their needs. She spends weekends attending celebrations, events and workshops and is often invited to speak at community events. The breadth and depth of Eva’s work, and her focused commitment to CaLD groups, has resonated across the CaLD and wider communities.

Zainon (Zen) Mohamad Kassim, WA Police Multicultural Engagement Officer

Zen, a police officer, has worked tirelessly in an often difficult environment to build positive relationships between the WA Police and migrant communities. She has advocated strongly on behalf of CaLD communities and is particularly focused on the issue of domestic violence and providing advice and help to migrant women.  In addition to her regular policing duties, Zen is a regular contributor to events that promote multiculturalism and celebrate WA’s diverse community.  She uses these events to build rapport with the CaLD community in an informal setting. The first woman in the WA Police to wear a hijab, Zen actively encourages those from a CaLD background to consider a career in the police force.  Her work has had a positive and lasting impact on both the WA Police and CaLD communities.

Outstanding service to multiculturalism award

Maria Bunn, President of the Western Australian Multicultural Association Inc. (WAMA)

Maria Bunn has been committed to working with CaLD communities for more than 30 years, in both a paid and voluntary capacities, across a number of organisations.  Maria has applied her rich experience in the multicultural aged care sector to make a significant and sustainable positive impact on the sector.  Some of Maria’s achievements include developing partnerships between aged care providers and CaLD communities; writing the Multicultural Aged Care Handbook to support care providers, which has now sold more than 800 copies; and co-ordinating the ‘Let me speak’ project initiative of the Ethnic Disability Advocacy Centre and Headwest to support CaLD people with disability and acquired brain injury.  As the current president of the WAMA, Maria continues to support new and emerging communities to build capacity by providing information and education programs.

Outstanding volunteer award

Materno Biwot, community leader

Since arriving in Australia as a refugee from Sudan, Materno Biwot has volunteered for a number of initiatives that have supported issues around child protection and community capacity building. He also delivers training on how to work more effectively with refugee families.  Following the tragic drowning of his son, he has dedicated himself to educating CaLD children (predominately from landlocked African countries) about water safety. Through working with challenging issues faced by the CaLD community, as well as using a personal tragedy to improve the lives of others, Materno’s commitment to the Western Australian community is outstanding.

Arts and Culture award for outstanding contribution to multiculturalism

Abdul-Rahman Abdullah and Abdul Abdullah – WA Focus Project

‘WA Focus’, by artists Abdul-Rahman Abdullah and Abdul Abdullah, was exhibited at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in April and July 2015.  It highlighted the experience of young Muslims growing up in Perth and addressed the generational shift in perspective that occurred in Australian Muslim identities with regard to pre-9/11 and post-9/11 sense of identity. The project consisted of a series of sculptures, prints, photographs, drawings and paintings that explored the politicising of identity. This extremely high-quality project generated important discussion and provided an invaluable insight into Australian Muslim culture.

Marketing award for outstanding contribution to multiculturalism

Curtin University – Humans of Curtin campaign

Curtin University’s Humans of Curtin campaign highlights the diversity of the Curtin community and promotes positive dialogue around issues of diversity and inclusion. The campaign has been successful on social media with more than 800 likes/discussions/comments.  Since June 2015, the digital content has attracted more than one million instances of engagement – with paid advertising on Spotify and Outbrain attracting click-through to Tumblr at twice the industry average. This innovative and insightful application of inclusive principles resonates positively with the target audience.

Private sector award for outstanding contribution to multiculturalism

Fortis Consulting

Fortis Consulting focuses on encouraging people from CaLD backgrounds to seek and obtain employment.  For more than four years, Fortis has focused on enhancing the capacity of CaLD communities. They provide tailored cultural diversity training and have worked consultatively with groups across the CaLD sector to build and deliver cultural training. The work of Fortis Consulting has led to significant and sustainable improvements in cultural understanding and employment across a range of sectors.

Local government award for outstanding contribution to multiculturalism

City of Greater Geraldton

The city provides a wide range of support and mentoring to the Midwest Multicultural Association – the umbrella group that supports many of Geraldton’s CaLD communities. The city is committed to involving the CaLD community in its consultation processes and ensuring services are accessible for those with basic English language skills. Through this work, the City of Greater Geraldton has demonstrated a broad and sustained commitment to promoting multiculturalism and improving the experiences of the CaLD community.

Community organisation award for outstanding contribution to multiculturalism

Financial, Administrative and Professional Services Training Council Incorporated (FAPSTC)

FAPSTC has championed the training needs of the translating and interpreting workforce since 2014.  They conducted a comprehensive analysis of the workforce and have been fundamental in ensuring the profession is recognised on the State Priority Occupation List at a level of priority reserved for those occupations considered critical to the Western Australian economy. Their work has raised the profile of this vital service to promote high-quality translating and interpreting for the CaLD community.

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