Sydney – 22 February 2019
Upon request from the Hon Ray Williams MP, Minister for Multiculturalism and Minister for Disability Services and The Hon Tanya Davies MP, Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Women, and Minister for Ageing, to meet with leaders of the Assyrian community. The Assyrian Universal Alliance-Australian Chapter (AUA) and the Assyrian Australian National Federation (AANF) in conjunction with the Assyrian Australian Association (AAA) organised a venue at Marconi Club on Friday 22 Feb 2019 from 10:00am -11:00am.
The Ministers were welcomed by the Assyrian organisation leaders, President of Club Marconi, Mr Vince Foti and Mr Tony Zappia, CEO of Club Marconi. The meeting lasted one hour during which many issues were discussed relating to our Assyrian community in Australia. Mr David David, President of the AANF introduced Mr Nabel Karim, President of the AAA to deliver a welcoming speech followed by Mr Hermiz Shahen, Deputy Secretary General of the AUA. Mr Karim talked briefly about their organisation’s activities and the role they have played for the last 50 years in providing services to the Assyrian community. He presented the Minister Williams with a token of appreciation. The Ministers also listened to the detailed explanation of the AUA activities in Australia and its views on the needs of the Assyrian community. Mr Shahen welcomed all the Assyrian guests and praised both Ministers for their efforts to assist the needs of the community and their willingness to help.
Mr Shahen said: “for years our community has been neglected, even though we are a community most in need of assistance with over twenty thousand refugees arriving from the war-torn countries of Iraq and Syria in the last few years in a very traumatic situation leaving behind their destroyed homes and properties. A large number of our youth have spent more than 4-7 years in the surrounding countries waiting for the opportunity to arrive to the western countries. Unfortunately, we are a stateless nation, Historically Assyrians are the creators of the Middle Eastern civilization but in our own homeland in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey we are marginalized not even recognised as the indigenous people of our own land.”
Mr Shahen continued by saying; “I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the premier of NSW the Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP and the Hon Ray Williams MP for their generous grants provided for the three organisations. We are hoping for further consideration to be given to our Assyrian community and their special circumstances when it comes to issuing these grants.”
At the end of the meeting Mr David David thanked the representatives of the all organisations including, The Young Assyrians, NSW Babylon Cultural Association, Assyrian Cultural & Social Youth Association, Assyrian Democratic Organisation, Assyrian Baz Association, Assyrian resource Centre staff and their Manager Mrs Carmen Lazar, for their presence and great services provided to the community.