Sada-e-Watan Sydney ™

Premier Mike Baird

More than 1300 dignitaries attended NSW Premier’s Harmony Dinner 2015
(Coverage by: Syed Zafar Hussain, Editor-in-Chief Sada-e-Watan Sydney)

On Thursday, 12th March 2015, NSW Premier’s Harmony Dinner 2015 was held at Grand Pavilion, Rosehill Gardens, Rosehill Sydney. Premier’s Harmony Dinner 2015 was a spectacular evening which bought together around 1300 guests representing different cultures, faiths, linguistic backgrounds and ethnicities.

Hon. Mike Baird, Premier of NSW

Ms Natalie Ahmat and Mr Ricardo Goncalves was the Master of Ceremonies. Opening music was played by Cleto Vivo and smoking Ceremony presented by Uncle Max Eurto. Australian National Anthem was performed by Jessica Rookeward. Mr Steven Randall Acknowledgement to Country and then Minister of Citizenship and Communities Hon. Victor Dominello address & Later Hon. Mike Baird, Premier of New South Wales key address at the function. After Main course served, Dr G K Harinath OAM, Chairman Multicultural NSW speaks about services of communities.

Hon. Victor Dominello

The event was even bigger and better than the previous years as the guests celebrated the success of multiculturalism in NSW, which is one of the most multicultural states in the world.

Dr G K Harinath OAM

From humble beginnings 4 years ago the Premier's Harmony Dinner has grown in prominence and popularity. In the first year we had around 500 attendees. Last night's gala event saw over 1,300 guests in attendance as we celebrated our state's rich cultural diversity.

Premier Hon. Mike Baird and Spouse Kerryn Baird

Over 1,300 community representatives and leaders gathered at Rosehill Gardens on Thursday night for the NSW Premier's Harmony Dinner. It was a colourful night of food and performance, during which the Minister for Citizenship and Communities, Victor Dominello, awarded six citizens with a Multicultural Community Medal for outstanding service to multicultural communities in NSW.

Syed Zafar Hussain, Premier Mike Baird and Mr Singh

The evening was made possible by the support of sponsors Village Plaza Shepherds Bay, Settlement Services International, Business Risks International, Kaden Boriss, Sydney Airport, media partners SBS and Sky News and venue Partner, Rosehill Gardens. Photo by Warren Duncan/Multicultural NSW.

Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello MP said the gala event, now in its fourth year, was a celebration of one of the state’s greatest economic and social assets – its cultural diversity.

“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,” Mr Victor Dominello said.

“The Premier’s Harmony Dinner is an opportunity to showcase the rich heritage of our many multicultural communities and equally it’s a time to celebrate the shared values which unite us as Australians.

Dr Ghayath Al-Shelh,Natalie O'Brien and Deputy Commissioner Police Nick Kaldas

“This grand event would not be possible without the generous support of our corporate partners and I especially wish to thank Kerrie Mather and Sydney Airport for the leadership they have shown in promoting the value of cultural diversity in NSW.”

Sinhalese migrant from Sri Lanka Nalika Padmasena wins NSW Premier Harmony award
(Article by Natalie O'Brien, Senior Reporter, the Sun-Herald Newspaper)

Nalika Padmasena has won the Premier's Harmony Award for her outstanding work helping women suffering from family and domestic violence.For Sinhalese migrant Nalika Padmasena her work helping women from culturally diverse backgrounds to speak about domestic and family violence, helped to ease her own homesickness.

Arriving from Sri Lanka during the unrest of the mid-1990s, Ms Padmasena took her mind off her own troubles by helping other women to open up and get help for an issue which has long been considered taboo in many cultures.

Her dedication was recognised on Thursday night when Premier Mike Baird awarded her the prestigious Stepan Kerkyasharian AO Harmony Award in front of more than 1300 people at the annual dinner at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse.

Premier Mike Baird said the award recognised the work she has done "to empower female migrants of their legal rights while providing safe environments for them to speak out about domestic violence".

It is the fourth annual harmony awards and dinner and this year six people were also recognised for their contribution to multiculturalism with medals.

The Youth Award was won by Sarah Yahya for helping Mandean refugees, the Youth Encouragement Award by William Ho for advocating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights. The Lifetime Community Service Award was won by Ruben Amores, the Arts and Culture Award by Paroula Galelis-Thurban for championing the understanding of Greek culture through language and dance. John Kutte Moi won the regional communities award for representing the African community in Wagga Wagga and Jim Feng won the Economic Participation Award for enhancing collaboration between Australia and China establishing a technology investment committee.

Minister for Communities and Citizenship, Victor Dominello, said the Harmony Dinner is an opportunity to showcase the rich heritage of our many multicultural communities and celebrate shared values.

Ms Padmasena told Fairfax Media that because migrant women are quite often isolated from their own families, it can make it even harder for them to talk about what they may be going through.

"One case that sticks in my mind is a woman who never spoke at all. She would come and attend our group but would not say a word."

Eventually, with help, the woman felt safe enough to reveal the horrendous physical and psychological abuse she had suffered over many years. She told Ms Padmasena she was so isolated she was not even allowed to socialise with other people. Her hobby of traditional craft making was also banned by her then husband who would destroy any craftwork he found.

Ms Padmasena said the work she undertook was "very emotional" and she understood the isolation felt by migrant women having arrived in Australia with just her husband and no other family.
"In a way helping them was a way of dealing with my own homesickness. I missed my country a lot," she said.

Master of Ceremonies Natalie Ahmat and Ricardo Goncalves

Premier Mike Baird and Minister Victor Dominello with medal winners at the Premier’s Harmony Dinner 2015


 Email Sada-e-Watan to a friend!