The Premier’s annual Harmony Dinner held last night Thursday 23 February at Sydney’s International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour recognised the selflessness, care and passion of 16 individuals and community organisations, 12 of them receiving Premier’s Multicultural Community Medal and one Highly Commended award, while three new members were added to the Multicultural Honour Roll. 

The Honour Roll is a permanent public record, which posthumously recognises the exemplary contribution by people in NSW that extends beyond their passing. One of the 2023 Multicultural Honour Roll Inductees, who passed away last year, is Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad OAM, a leader of the Muslim community in Australia for half a century who founded a number of community organisations and institutions and was a pioneer of interfaith dialogue.

Dr Ahmad and Mrs Ahmad in front of the Taj Mahal in their home country India on a family visit in 2014.

The certificate of recognition for Dr Ahmad was received from the Premier by Dr Ahmad’s eldest son, Zia Ahmad and daughter-in-law Mehar Ahmad at the Harmony Dinner from the stage.

Premier Dominic Perrottet with Mehar Ahmad and Zia Ahmad displaying Multicultural Honour Roll certificate for Late Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad OAM. The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 BH.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said each of those recognised and the Honour roll inductees showcased the very best of NSW’s rich multicultural society. 

“Since 2012, the NSW Government has been celebrating the dedication of people who passionately serve their communities all to make our state a better place,” Mr Perrottet said. 

He further added, “Each of the people and organisations we are honouring tonight show that while we all come from different backgrounds, we are all driven by the same goal of wanting to create a stronger future for NSW.” 

Premier Dominic Perrottet. The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 CK.

Mahboba Rawi of Mahboba Promise was awarded the  Settlement Services International NSW Human Rights Medal. Mahboba’s Promise is a non-profit organization that provides humanitarian aid and support to vulnerable individuals and communities in Afghanistan.

Mahboba Rawi at The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 BH.

For the first time, the outstanding contribution of a community language teacher was also recognised with an inaugural medal, with Ms Odarka Brecko being awarded for more than 50 years of advocating for and supporting the maintenance of the Ukrainian language, culture and traditions. Her leadership in education and within the community has directly influenced more than 5,000 young people. 

Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure echoed the Premier’s sentiment, adding that the Harmony Dinner was truly a celebration of the state’s greatest asset—its people. 

“This is one of the biggest events of its kind in Australia, and I believe that is fitting given we have the strongest and most harmonious multicultural society,” Mr Coure said.

Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure. The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 CK

He further added, “Of course, we wouldn’t have the great state we do without the amazing contributions of the caring and selfless people we champion tonight.” 

The Premier’s Harmony Dinner continues to celebrate the NSW Government’s commitment to a cohesive and inclusive society in which the cultures, languages and religions of all citizens are embraced. 

The Honour Roll Inductees for the year 2023 are: 

  • Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad 
  • Sunil C De Silva 
  • Dr Zeina Merhi 

The Community Medal Winners for the 2023 are: 

Winner  Medal 
Joanne Lee  Carla Zampatti Arts and Culture Medal 
Ngac Thuy Han Do  All Graduates Interpreting and Translating Language Services Medal 
Mahboba Rawi  Settlement Services International NSW Human Rights Medal 
Henry Nan Hung Pan  SBS Lifetime Community Service Medal 
Glen Crump  CommBank Regional Unity Medal 
Amir Salem OAM  Stepan Kerkyasharian AO Community Harmony Medal 
Herman Lotey  Village Plaza Sports Medal 
Wi Meh  NSW Rugby League Youth Medal 
Rose Lewis  NSW Rugby League Youth Medal – Highly Commended 
Odarka Brecko  Department of Education Community Languages Teacher Medal 
MOSAIC Multicultural Centre  Welcoming Cities Local Government Business Excellence Medal 
Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association of NSW  Dr G.K. Harinath OAM Not For Profit Business Excellence Medal 
Navitas Skilled Futures  Corporate Business Excellence Medal 

The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 BH

The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 BH

The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 BH

The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 BH

The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 BH

The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 BH

The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 BH

The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 BH

The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 BH

The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 BH

The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 BH

The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 BH

The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 BH

The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 BH

The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 BH

The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 BH

The Premier’s Harmony Dinner © Salty Dingo 2023 BH