Faith, Freedom, and the Secular Sphere

On Tuesday morning 11th of November, Affinity hosted the eminent scholar Professor Mona Siddiqui from Edinburgh University.

This also marked the launch of our new ‘Morning conversations’ – pre-9 breakfast events with facilitated interactive conversations between experts and an audience of diverse professional backgrounds.

The event began with a traditional Turkish breakfast spread, and guests mingled, and enjoyed the breakfast until the official conversation started at 8am.

The conversation started with a live interview by Jane Jeffes, Executive producer, Religion and Ethics, ABC Radio.

The conversation touched on a wide range of topics including radicalisation, family relationships, types of secularism, practices of the media, individual freedoms and the role of religion in modern societies to list a few.

Facilitated Q&A followed the engaging interview, and the audience members had the opportunity to ask Professor Siddiqui their questions. The conversation could definitely have gone one, but most people had work to get to and Professor Siddiqui had to make it to her next engagement in Sydney.

Professor Siddiqui’s thoughtful answers and unique ideas, as well as Jane’s interesting questions made for a highly interesting conversation and we all walked away with the satisfaction of a morning very well spent.

Special thanks again to Mona, Jane, and the sponsor of the event.

The event was not recorded on video.  


Law and Society

Affinity hosted the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, the Hon James Allsop AO for another excellent lecture on the 6th of October 2016.

The Chief Justice spoke about the origins of law and its relationship with society and the values that sustain that society.

The Chief Justice drew on a range of legal areas including the public law, private law, and the criminals law, as well as cases such as Kable in demonstrating the source from which our notions of natural and procedural fairness derive.

The Chief Justice also expounded on the dignity and sanctity of each human being, the values of equality, fairness, and mercy.

It was interesting to hear that most of the Chief Justice’s thoughts and current understanding crystallised watching admission ceremonies and diverse range of young lawyers and their proud parents that reflected the modern and diverse Australian society.

There were many interested questions from the audience who wanted to know what the Chief Justice thought on a wide range of questions from diversity of our courts and legislatures to the deep theoretical questions of law and a changing society.

Ken Salegic, Director of Salex Linings, was the sponsor for this event.




The Role of Tertiary Education in Fostering Harmony

Affinity Intercultural Foundation held its monthly lecture series on 25 August 2016 on the topic ‘The role of tertiary education in fostering harmony’. We were honoured to have Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney Dr Michael Spence address over 60 guests from across the business sector, education sector and the wider community.

The program began with a special lunch for the guests followed by the official welcome by Professor Rosemary Johnston, member of Affinity’s advisory board. Professor Johnston introduced this month’s facilitator, Jan McClelland, Deputy Chancellor of the University of New England.

Dr Michael Spence presented a vivid an engaging talk on the need for universities to take more of an active role in instilling students with ‘softer’ social values as well as classic preparation for the workforce.

The informative lecture was opened up further in the Q&A session. The audience was very enthusiastic in their line of questioning and although time did not allow for all points to be addressed, Dr Spence provided quality responses across the board.

The program was concluded with a gift presentation from Jeremey Fernandez, journalist at ABC News 24, presenting Dr Spence with an engraved classic Turkish vase on behalf of Affinity.

Affinity would like to thank all of the attendees and specially thank Galaxy Foundation for sponsoring the event.

Next month’s lecture will be presented by Dr Elizabeth Coombs, Privacy Commissioner of NSW on 21 September 2016 and she will be covering the topic ‘What’s happening – or not – in privacy?’



Abraham Conference 2016

21ST August 2016

Affinity Intercultural Foundation together with their partners the Jewish Board of Deputies, Uniting Church of Australia and Columban Mission Institute co-hosted the 2016 Abraham Conference: Hate Speech and Violence at the Parramatta Mission Fellowship Hall on Sunday 21 August 2016.

Affinity together with its partners was pleased to welcome over 100 guests from across the business sector, education sector and the wider community. Some notable attendees are MPs Jihad Dib and Julie Owen and the Grand Mufti of Australia Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed.

We were honoured to have Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton deliver the keynote address on how hate speech and violence are intricately linked and the damages they can cause communities.

Following Dr Elton’s address, we were pleased to hear from our esteemed panellists Ari Lander, Dr Ghena Krayem, Fr Claude Mostowik, Julie Nathan, Rev. Tara Curlewis and Shk Haisam Farache on a range of topics including the effect of hate speech on their individual communities and the solutions presented to curb hate speech. At the conclusion of the program there was definitely a wider understanding of each other and the problems faced by all represented communities.

The proceedings were moderated seamlessly by David Knoll, A.M and it was a wonderful program enjoyed by all. Thank you to Kati, Briana and Manas for their efforts in organising the event and to everyone who attended.