By Rekha Rajvanshi.
35 language groups representing 79 community organisations attended the NSWFCLS annual dinner
Australia like India, is a multicultural, multilingual country where people from more than 140 countries reside and speak different languages. As this is now our home, we share common values and goals and pass these on to our youth through languages and culture. Currently many languages are offered in NSW schools as a curriculum subject including Hindi, Tamil, Punjabi, among others.
Community language schools in NSW are the foundation not only of language education, but of the cultural and linguistic diversity of a vibrant and dynamic multicultural state, which is a part of the NSW Government’s ‘Harmony in Action’ plan. The NSW Federation of Community Languages Schools (NSWFCLS) is an organisation that assists all community language schools to obtain benefits from various programs offered by the NSW Government, and strive to promote language education. The aim of the Federation is to unite all community language schools, work together to sustain community languages, and contribute to the multicultural assets of New South Wales.
On June 13, the NSWFCLS hosted its annual dinner at the Cyprus Community Club, with the Hon. John Ajaka MLC, Minister for Multiculturalism attending as Guest of Honour. This popular event was attended by more than 440 people from 35 language groups representing 79 community organisations, who came together to celebrate the achievements of communities operating these schools. Mr Albert Vella, President, NSWFCLS, warmly greeted the guests and dignitaries who included
Nick Varvaris MP, Federal Member for Barton representing the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Tony Abbott; the Hon. John Ajaka MP, Minister for Multiculturalism; the Hon. Victor Dominello MP, Minister for Innovation & Better Regulation; the Hon. Linda Burney MP – Deputy Leader of the Opposition; the Hon. Sophie Cotsis MLC, Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism; Dr Hari Harinath, Chair of Multicultural NSW; Cav. Felice Montrone, Multicultural NSW Advisory Board; Ms Jozefa Sobski, Chair CLS Board; Dr Stepan Kerkyasharian AO, President, Anti-discrimination Board; Mr Hakan Harman, CEO, Multicultural NSW, Consular representatives from the Consulates of Malta, Poland, Egypt, India, Sri Lanka, Germany and Spain, DEC officials and other distinguished guests.
Mr Ajaka took time out to meet many members of the community language schools and volunteers who devote their time and energy in providing the communities of NSW with quality language educational services.
The program of the night included presentations of awards to students for entering in this year’s colour poster competition, and long service awards to teachers for their dedication to language teaching for 10 years and over.
Thai, Chinese and Russian student groups performed beautiful folk dances and songs, attired in colourful costumes.
The NSWFCLS annual dinner was a multicultural event that brought together a wide range of communities from a varied of ethnic backgrounds and was undoubtedly a successful one.