His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Governor of New South Wales
As we gather to celebrate ‘All the colours of the world’ at this wonderful festival of language and culture, I would first like to pay my respects to the traditional owners of the land on which we gather, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, for whom this site, Bennelong Point, has special significance, as a place of ceremony, a place to meet in friendship, and a place to seek and harvest the abundant riches of the sea, its harbour and foreshores.
As we gather here among the soaring sails of the Sydney Opera House, may we firstly acknowledge our Indigenous Australians’ living and ancient culture, the world’s oldest living culture, spanning tens of thousands of years. I affirm my respect for their elders, ancestors and descendants.
On behalf of the people of New South Wales, I welcome our Australian and international participants, and our special guests, to Sydney for the 14th Festival of Language and Culture.
Tonight we will be entranced by the colour and diversity of our Australia, and the colour and diversity of this big, wide and beautiful world of ours.
Students participating in tonight’s Festival come from Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Russia, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, the Ukraine and the USA.
This Festival allows students from Australia and 20 other nations around the world to come together to share their language and culture against the backdrop of another language and culture – the universal and international language of music and dance.
It is, if you like, a type of Junior Eurovision, magnified to a global arena.
This is indeed a wonderful setting for our world’s charismatic and talented young people to perform, which truly reflects our kaleidoscopic world.
Not only does this Festival provide opportunities to perform on a global stage, it provides the even deeper opportunity to engage, to share, to exchange ideas and to learn from each other.
This vibrant cultural celebration is a celebration of our common humanity.
We come together in friendship, respect for each other’s beliefs and backgrounds, and a spirit of inclusiveness.
May we extend that language and culture of friendship to each other this evening, and beyond this evening, and beyond this beautiful place.
I congratulate the Festival organisers, supporters and participants and convey my best wishes as Linda and I join you in this joyous celebration of ‘All the Colours of the World’.