Australian Intercultural Society (AIS) hosted their 15th Annual Parliament Iftar Dinner in collaboration with Minister for Multicultural affairs Ros Spence, and Multicultural Affairs Minister Neil Angus On Tuesday 27 April 2021.

The exclusive event was held in the La Trobe Ballroom of Melbourne’s iconic Sofitel Hotel and was attended by several politicians, prominent community leaders, academics and changemakers.  

Gender Equality Commissioner Dr. Nikki Vincent & Director for AIS Ahmet Keskin

AIS has a robust history of interfaith engagement and establishing platforms for dialogue that strengthen mutual respect and understanding between people of diverse communities.  

The master of ceremonies for this event was Mr Michael Rowland, with the Welcome to Country performed by Muslim Aboriginal Elder of the Wurundjeri, Uncle Andrew Gardiner.  The opening prayer was performed by popular Australian imam, Sheikh Alaa Elzokm.  

President of AIS, Mr Ahmet Keskin spoke on the importance of Interfaith engagement.  

From left:  Prof Sarah Maddison, Hayley Conway, Diana Sayed, Nesreen Bottriell, Dr. Zuleyha Keskin.

Keynote speaker, Gender Equality Commissioner Dr Nikki Vincent, gave an inspiring presentation. 

Reflecting on the Parliament Iftar Dinner, community leader Tasneem Chopra stated, 

The evening featured some brilliant presentations, including one from  Dr Nikki Vincent, the newly minted  Gender Equality Commissioner who spoke about her Offices mandate to centre intersectionality in their engagement remit.  It was gratifying to see issues of sexism and racism tackled in these presentations, lead by women and women of colour in particular, acknowledging the powerful forces for change in our midst.  These engagement events that elevate discourses from platitudes to critical conversations are exactly what we need.”

Sheikh Alaa Elzokm

The highlight of the night was a powerful spoken word by inimitable artist Zaynab Farah, titled “She is.”

Reflections were shared by Journalist Sara James, Deputy Commissioner Neil Patterson and Justice Victoria Bennett.

Tanja Kubitza, Zaynab Farah, Lutfiye Akin

Special mention goes to main event sponsor, Selimiye Foundation, as well as acknowledging the contributions of Arab Bank, Parker Lawyers, NAB, Capital Wealth Advisors, Melbourne ISP and Gozleme King in making this event truly memorable.