Abraham Conference 2017

On Sunday 16 July, an excited audience gathered at Parramatta Mission to listen to our panel of Muslim, Christian and Jewish speakers discuss pertinent issues related to living in a multi-faith and multicultural society. The panel was moderated by MC Julie McCrossin.

Please find below photos and video recordings from the event.

 

A Lunchtime Lecture with Dr Kay Patterson, Age Discrimination Commissioner


Abstract:

When Paul McCartney penned his famous song “Will you still need me…” in 1966, at the age of 16, the oldest of Australia’s baby boomers were turning 20.  Despite Paul contemplating turning 64 these boomers were on the cusp of adulthood and the inevitability of turning 64 was most probably the furthest thing from their minds and for most of them would have seemed an impossibility.

The movement of the bulge of boomers through the years, often referred to as “the pig in the python” provided fertile ground to be tilled by social science researchers.

How is this cohort of ageing boomers doing now – what are they doing, how healthy are they, where are they living, how are they fairing; how do they compare with the war babies and boomers in other countries; and what of their future?

About the speaker:

Appointed as the Age Discrimination Commissioner on 29th July, 2016 the Hon. Dr Kay Patterson AO came into this role with strong involvement in issues affecting older people.  Leaving school at 15, and then managing a small business, she returned to school and gained a BA (Hons) at the University of Sydney and a PhD in Psychology and a Dip Ed at Monash University.

Following her election to the Senate in 1987 she served on a number of Senate committees and held various shadow portfolios.  In 1988 she was appointed as a Parliamentary Secretary and in 2001 was appointed to Cabinet and served in the Health and Social Security portfolios. She retired from Cabinet in 2006 and from the Senate in 2008.


About the facilitator:

 

Gillian’s passion is working with inspired people to help them achieve worthwhile change. After a successful and fulfilling senior executive career mostly in health and aged care Gillian now combines busy consulting roles with Board work and governance.

Known for her capacity to galvanize people around great strategy, Gillian has mastered the art of finding innovative solutions to emerging trends and changes that help companies evolve their services and business models. Prior to establishing a busy portfolio career, Gillian was CEO and Director of UnitingCare Ageing one of Australia’s largest health and aged care providers. Gillian holds non-executive director positions with the boards of Basketball Australia Ltd and RSL Care Ltd.

She has held Senior Executive leadership roles in NSW Government Departments including Premier’s, Housing NSW, Ministry of Health & Community Services, Department of Community Services and the Department of Ageing Disability and Home Care.

Gillian is committed to life-long learning and has used this to hone the hard and soft skills of leadership. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors with tertiary qualifications including an Executive MBA, post-graduate qualifications in urban studies and an honors degree in Social Work.

To attend this special event, please complete the RSVP form below by 5pm, Tuesday 12 September:

 

Morning Conversation with Professor Barney Glover

 

About the speaker:
Professor Barney Glover commenced as the Vice-Chancellor and President of Western Sydney University on 1 January 2014.

Professor Glover is an accomplished academic leader and experienced Vice-Chancellor. Previously Vice-Chancellor at Charles Darwin University from 2009 to 2013, he has a long record of success in university management and leadership, particularly in research, intellectual property management and major capital development projects.

Professor Glover also has significant business leadership credentials through membership on the boards of a range of corporate organisations and several state and national centres covering areas such as health and medical research, energy, mineral exploration and processing and telecommunications.

Before relocating to the Northern Territory in 2009 Professor Glover was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research at the University of Newcastle. Prior to this, he held several positions at Perth’s Curtin University of Technology including Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Development. He has a strong research publication record and has co-authored four texts in mathematics education. Before his appointment at Curtin Professor Glover held a number of positions at the University of Ballarat in Victoria.

Building research infrastructure, strategic partnerships and fostering a culture of research excellence were hallmarks of Professor Glover’s tenure in senior executive roles at CDU, the University of Newcastle and Curtin University of Technology.

He has demonstrated a deep commitment to widening participation and exploring innovative approaches to higher education access throughout his career. Professor Glover is a leader in the development of flexible, technology-based learning and in furthering Indigenous knowledge and education. He also has considerable experience in developing strong and mutually beneficial relationships with the vocational education sector.

Professor Glover holds a PhD in Applied Mathematics and has worked on both the east and west coasts of Australia.

About the facilitator:

Darren Mara is a cross-platform reporter, producer and presenter for SBS World News. He has worked across print, online, radio and television for the past 10 years, and most recently filled in as sports presenter for World News.

Darren has covered major domestic and international news events including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Australian federal elections, Olympics and Commonwealth Games, FIFA World Cups and the Tour de France.

Darren also spent four years in Europe as a reporter, editor and producer with German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle, as well as around one year in Indonesia working as a sub-editor with that country’s largest English-language newspaper, The Jakarta Post.

If you are interested in attending this event, please complete the RSVP form below by Monday 28 August.

2017 Home Iftar Dinners

Affinity’s Home Iftar initiative has been a growing tradition since its inception in 2006. This year was no exception, with 18 Australian-Muslim families across Western Sydney opening their homes to share an Iftar meal with non-Muslim guests, including representatives from  local councils, government, public service, media, academia and various faith and community groups.

These Iftar dinners, held during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, are a great opportunity for individuals to engage in intercultural exchange. Our aim is to foster the growth and development of a harmonious and inclusive community, accepting of the beautiful diversity within Australia and beyond.

The feedback we have received from previous participants confirms that such engagement not only facilitates understanding of the Islamic faith and the Muslim culture, but also enhances the Muslim community’s sense of belonging and consequently its contribution to Australian society.

Mikall Choong, chairman of the not-for-profit organisation, Advance Diversity Services had the following words of appreciation for the Home Iftar dinner he attended: “I’d like to thank Azmi and Gulse for so graciously opening their home to us and preparing such a delightful Iftar meal. The experience was memorable and most enjoyable!

Photos from this yea’rs Home Iftar Dinners

Experiencing love as a verb at the 2017 Building Harmony Ramadan Iftar Dinner

More than 120 people gathered to break bread in the spirit of love and friendship at the Iftar dinner held at Parramatta Mission.

Hosted by the Uniting Church and the Affinity Intercultural Foundation, the gathering included local members of Parliament, police, religious and community leaders, representatives of other faiths as well as Uniting Church and Muslim members.

Keynote speaker was the Grand Mufti of Australia Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed.

In his welcome address, Uniting Church in Australia President Stuart McMillan said the Iftar Dinner provided a powerful symbol of love for neighbour.

“As we mourn and condemn recent terror attacks across the world, we know that love and understanding will always triumph over fear and hate,” he said.

“By coming here tonight, we offer a different narrative to the voices of fear and division in the Australian community.”

“We pray for God to grant us the strength to passionately pursue a more welcoming, inclusive and peaceful community where all may live in harmony – and encourage others to do the same.”

Affinity Executive Director Ahmet Polat said it was a privilege to see how Ramadan, the sacred month for Muslims, had become a time where all faiths and cultures came together.

“By being here tonight, we are not just simply sharing a meal, we are renewing a pledge to work together to fight discrimination and bigotry,” said Ahmet.

“All of us while embracing our faith most sincerely, should accept and respect the presence of other religious traditions and philosophies. Love is a verb, seeing that in action should be our dream.”

Mufti Mona

In his speech read by Mona Abdelraheem, the Grand Mufti called on people of faith to follow the message of all religions to love one another.

“In the Holy Bible it says: ‘Dear friends, let us love one another for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4: 7-8).’

“Ladies and gentleman, thank God that in spite of the hatred we encounter, there are people in Australia who have the ethos of love and awareness.”

“Love is the key to changing hearts, minds and entire societies. The message of our faiths is clear. In that to be in service of others is the quickest route to spreading love.

“Let us make Australia the leading nation in promoting mutual love in our wonderful multicultural context.”

The fast was broken at the start of the evening by the Adhan, the Call to Prayer, sung by Furkan Sami.

Ibrahim Karaisli from Amity College provided the melodic Qu’ran recitation (Chapter 55: Ar-Rahman. Verses 1-34) and translated a section for guests.

Primary school students in the Amity College Choir gave a heartening performance of five Australian-themed songs, including “I am Australian” with an Auslan interpretation.

Iftar choir

At the conclusion, floor reflections were offered by Member for Granville Julia Finn, Det Inspector Bradley Element from Parramatta Local Area Command, Uniting NSW.ACT Director of Mission Rev. Rick Morrell and Mehmet Ozalp Executive Director of Islamic Sciences and Research Academy (ISRA).

A vote of thanks was offered by Jim Mein from the NSW/ACT Synod and Mehmet Saral from Galaxy Foundation.

The Iftar Dinner was organised jointly by Affinity, and the Uniting Church Assembly and NSW/ACT Synod and supported by Uniting NSW.ACT.

It is one of three Iftar dinners co-hosted by the Uniting Church this year, with the final dinner being hosted in Brisbane on Sunday. The first was in Melbourne at St Thomas Uniting Church in Craigieburn.

Iftar eating

Story sourced from the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly.