Australia Day is a time to celebrate our nation’s proud history, a nation built on immigration and thriving multiculturalism. The Lebanese community has been an integral component of Australia’s rich cultural diversity since the 1880’s. They embraced this country the same way it embraced them, with open arms, and helped make Australia what it is today, a haven for freedom, democracy and friendship. The Lebanese community has produced an extensive list of high achievers who have served the country in many arenas, including sports, politics being federal, state or local governments and the corporate sector in commercial and business. To know the Lebanese community in general is to know people who are proud and committed to both Australia and their Lebanese traditions. The essence of a Multicultural society is one that allows people to be proud of their heritage and be allowed to pass it on to future generations within their acquired community.
The Australia Day Lebanese Youth Awards 2008 was coordinated by Mr. Salem Haddad JP, Australian Lebanese Historical Society (ALHSV) Treasurer, assisted by Mr. Elie Khalil from the Australian Lebanese Youth Association (ALYA), and Mr. Robert Bekhazi from Australians For Lebanon(AFL). The event was held on Sunday 27th January at the Brunswick Town Hall, with the aim of recognizing Australian Lebanese Youth and their contributions to community services, academia, sports and recreation and entrepreneurship. The ceremony was attended by over 180 people including the following dignitaries:
and many more dignitaries and guest from the Lebanese community.
‘Our Youth Our Future’ was also blessed with traditional Lebanese entertainment, including a derbakke duet by brothers Charlie and Joseph Semrani and a dabke performance by the Lebanese Dancers for Peace. A major highlight of the ceremony was the invitation by the Lebanese Dancers for Peace to members of the audience to dance the dabke with them. This resulted in dozens of attendees joining in, including most of the special guests.
The entertainment was followed by the announcement of the winners. Congratulations to the following 17 people for their high achievements:
Ms. Lama Abdel-Khalek
The event culminated in a cocktail that was sponsored by Zouki Enterprises who are thanked for their generous sponsorship along with other sponsors and supporters from the Lebanese Business community. ALHSV, ALYA and AFL would also like to thank the judging penal, Senator Lyn Allison, Professor Joe Camilleri and Dr. Albert Haddad for taking the time out of their busy schedule to assess the nomination forms.