Africause: Australia Day Celebration 2024
This year's Australia Day celebration, organised and hosted by Africause, was an extraordinary event in that I had the honour of participating as the keynote speaker. The gathering was a spectacular fusion of culture, leadership, and community spirit. I think it was the best Australian Day event I have ever attended.
A traditional North African coffee ceremony with a strong, sweet ginger-laden coffee was a remarkable welcome refreshment. So, too, the sparking smiles and conversation as we gathered.
Phil Brooker's sparkling welcome set a joyous tone for the evening, leading to inspiring speeches. Bronwyn Halfpenny MP eloquently spoke about the community connections that Dr Berhan Ahmed and Africause foster, highlighting the organisation's significant role in strengthening community ties. Her insights were a profound reminder of the importance of collaboration and unity.
In my address, I discussed the theme of optimism and leadership, complemented by the speeches of other distinguished guests. Vivienne Nguyen, Victorian Multicultural Commission Chairperson, paid a heartfelt tribute to the leadership in the room, acknowledging the African Australian community's contributions. Wudad Salim's speech tackled complex issues positively and constructively, demonstrating the power of resilience and hope.
Dr Berhan's concluding remarks emphasised the need for optimism in building a stronger Australia. His message resonated deeply, echoing my sentiments about the importance of positive leadership in our society.
A unique and memorable moment occurred when I encouraged the audience to replace the traditional greeting "How are you?" with "What's been the best thing in your day?" This simple shift in conversation sparked an uplifting hubbub of laughter and joy as people shared their joyful experiences with each other, reinforcing the event's theme of optimism and community.
I also had the honour of presenting the Community Awards alongside Phil Brooker, recognising the extraordinary individuals and groups who have made significant contributions to our community. This segment was not just a ceremony but a celebration of the diverse and impactful work being done across our society.
The music and dancing was superb! And a shout out to the management of White Rose Receptions for the quality of their service and food.
The Africause Australia Day Celebration 2024 was an incredible testament to the power of diverse voices, leadership, and optimism in shaping a better future for Australia. It was a day that celebrated the national spirit and highlighted the importance of recognising and supporting the leadership within our diverse communities.