The 2016 NSW Parliament Friendship and Dialogue Iftar took place at the NSW Parliament House, Strangers Lounge. Co-hosted by Affinity and NSW parliamentarians the Hon. John George Ajaka, MLC and the Hon. Sophie Cotsis, MLC, the event was attended by over 200 guests including MP’s, consuls general and representatives from the community and government. Sandra Sully, Channel 10 Journalist and Senior Editor with TEN, was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening.
The keynote speaker, His Excellency General the honourable David Hurley AC, DSC, Governor of New South Wales spoke about the importance of having a nation which is not feared but rather celebrates diversity and acceptance. His Excellency General emphasised that “nations aren’t built by bricks and waters, roads, bridges and so forth. It’s built through the positive efforts, the interactions, the synergies of people in pursuit of a peaceful, fair, tolerant, dynamic and diverse nation.” His Excellency Generals emphasis on a society which firmly believes and promotes plurality very much coincided with the purpose of the NSW Parliament Friendship and Dialogue dinner.
The Honourable John Ajaka identified through the example of the dinner just how harmonious the people that live in NSW are. He added that the coming together of the community and helping the vulnerable is part of the spirit of Ramadan.
The Honourable Sophie Cotsis described the Friendship and Dialogue Iftar Dinner to be a night of diversity within the peoples Parliament of NSW. She also emphasised that “our diversity is our strength” and the coming together of people from “different sectors, from across the political divide.”
Additional speakers included Dr Julian Droogan, senior lecturer at Macquarie University and Editor in Chief of the Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism who opened the program, Ibrahim Karaisli from Amity College who recited the call to prayer and the verses from the Qur’an, Ahmet Polat, executive director of Affinity and Chief Justice James Allsop who concluded the program with a vote of thanks.
The evening included entertainment from the Amity College choir and enthralling performance from the Whirling Dervishes. The iftar promoted greater conversation and dialogue between different groups in wider society and increased awareness and appreciation of the diversity present in our community.
His Excellency General The Honorable David Hurley, NSW Governer
Ms Sandra Sully
The Hon John Ajaka