Message from the Chair - Newsletter

by Esther Lozano - Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Welcome back! I hope that each of you had a wonderful break and enjoyed special time with friends and family. Time away from our everyday tasks can be remarkably restorative. I am confident that, as always, you return with renewed enthusiasm and vigour.

The start of a new year provides an ideal time to reflect on where we have been and where we are heading. We recognize the formative events that have helped ECCNSW become the extraordinary organisation that it is today. We also look forward with excitement to the future. When I began my tenure as Chair of ECCNSW, it was my goal to maintain and keep building on that tremendous foundation, and to continue making ECCNSW a tremendous success. I am extremely pleased to be able to say that we are well on our way to laying the foundation of our future growth.
ECCNSW Board of Management recently attended the very successful NSW Premier’s Harmony Dinner along with many of our members.  The Harmony Dinner gives us a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate the hard work and commitment of many multicultural organisations, it a celebration that highlights Australia’s multiculturalism.  We must offer our congratulations to all the winners of the Harmony Medals for their outstanding contribution.
I had the honour to be invited to be a speaker at The International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) conference entitled "Harmony, Communication, and Peace of the 3.7 Billion Women" to discuss the role of women and to establish collaborating  networks. There were over 700 attendees .  The International Women’s Peace Group goal is to set out practical steps for the realization of world peace.  A single person can be weak. However, if 3.7 billion women become one, peace will be not a dream but a reality.
I was invited by the Tamil Arts and Culture Association to attend their Tamil Pongal celebration at NSW Parliament House.  Thai Pongal is a Tamil harvest festival celebrated in the month of January and it is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Tamil people worldwide.  
The Jewish Board of Deputies held a Multicultural Women's Luncheon with Ms Orly Erez-Likhovski, who is an amazing guest speaker from Israel. She is a pioneer who has been at the forefront of fighting for gender rights and fighting against racism in the Israeli court system.
It has been a busy first quarter  with wonderful invitations received for me to attend events  including  the Cancer Council Saving Life 2019, the Water Safety Forum 2019, regarding water safety, the International Day for the elimination of Racial Discrimination (Harmony Day), and The Lunar Chinese New Year Celebration.
Currently we are working to finalise the Strategic Plan 2019-2021, the importance of this review is to encompass all aspects of the organisation and re-affirm the need for us to be an agile, relevant and representative NGO in the multicultural space.  In this Plan we must anticipate the many forces of change that will define the values and uphold the principles of multiculturalism in the decades to come.  Our mission is to engage and empower multicultural communities to contribute to and participate in all aspects of public life.
With great pleasure I would like to congratulate The Australian Human Rights Commission, for appointing the new Race Discrimination Commissioner Mr Chin Tan.  
Congratulations are also due for the newly appointed CEO of Multicultural NSW, Mr Joseph La Posta. We look forward to working as key stakeholders with these two dynamic leaders.
In considering the recent tragic event in Christchurch, New Zealand , the ECCNSW views these actions as a direct threat to our unity and solidarity.  Given this unprecedented terrorist attack the entire Members’ Forum including our special guests – The Hon. Sophie Cotsis MP, representing the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Michael Daley;  Mr Joseph La Posta, CEO of Multicultural NSW and  Ms Megan Lancaster, Director of Community Engagement at Multicultural NSW ; Ms Pallavi Sinha, candidate for the NSW Upper House ; and Ms Jackie Leewai, Community Engagement Manager from SBS, was dedicated to discussion and reflecting on how as a community we can work together to maintain harmony.  
We all offered condolences and deep sympathy to the victims and their families.  We committed to standing in a Forum Unity, solidarity and expressed our grief with the Muslim and the wider community in this very difficult and painful time.  We must be vigilant against any threats to our multicultural harmony. 
As an expression of our solidarity on the night of the open Members’ Forum, the Deputy Chair Jack Passaris OAM and I, lit a candle and invited all present to observe a minute silence.   A Condolence list was also signed by all and this will be presented to the Consul  General of New Zealand who will pass it on to the Prime Minister  of New Zealand .
I would like to sincerely thank those who have extended invitations for me to attend community events. It is with great pleasure that I attend and interact with different members of our vibrant communities.
Finally, I look forward to continuing working for the future success of the Ethnic Communities Council of NSW.
Mrs. Marta Terracciano J.P.
Ethnic Communities Council of NSW
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