For us, Australia is a place to call home. After fleeing the Lebanese civil war in the 80s and 90s – hundreds of thousands of Lebanese migrated to Australia. Most with just a few dollars in their pockets, not a word of English and just the clothes on their back…
Nonetheless, years later, Lebanese Australians have given back to society in multiple ways. Where ever we go in the world, we are leaders in commerce and industry – they say it’s because of our ancestors…
Since calling Australia home, Lebanese migrants have actively contributed to everything from business to education and food – taking risks and opening up cafes, businesses and education colleges across the country.
And for 21 consecutive years, the team at United Australian Lebanese Movement (UALM) have made it their job to recognize a handful of those hard working Lebanese as part of their Australia Day celebrations.
The successful event was hosted by the Federal Vice coordinator of the UALM, Claudine Mansour Germanos, and was well attended by representatives from various political parties as well as individuals representing local councils and a vast array of Australian Lebanese social, political and religious associations.
This year, there were three outstanding individuals who needed to be noted for their excellent work… and that includes:
Professor Ray Hayek for his contribution to the field of Higher education Leadership and Health Care over the past 28 years, holding numerous posts and leadership roles at multiple Universities and Private Higher Education Providers. He is currently the MBA Program Director at Universal Business School Sydney. Professor Hayek has published over 180 scientific and professional reports and is frequently invited as a speaker at local and international scientific conferences.
Albert Wehbe, awarded for his role as an educator, poet and journalist.
He was the brains behind the Lebanese Cultural Movement in Australia, which was the precursor of the birth of the Middle East Herald newspaper.
Mr Wehbe has worked with NSW Board of Studies on developing tests, marking and updating the school curriculum. Just recently, he celebrated his 50th anniversary as a teacher, and at the same time launched his second book of poetry, Khawabi Al-Abir.
And finally, Minister Marlene Kairouz Minister who holds many political titles, she was awarded for her work in politics as a minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation. She has also served twice served as Mayor and held various positions in Parliament including Opposition Whip and cabinet Secretary in the Victorian Government. In this role she worked with the Premier and Cabinet to oversee the co-ordination of all Cabinet and government business as well as the wider legislative program. Minister Kairouz has responsibility for three portfolios and has overseen major reforms.
All three recipients are the perfect example of how Lebanese leave their mark on society. And for 21 years, this event has not only raised awareness of Lebanon but also given people a golden opportunity to show who we really are, our rich culture and values. And as an act of gratitude for Australia, the UALM for the last 21 years donates an amount of money to one of Australia s amazing organisations, this year the UALM had the pleasure to contribute it to Northside West Group Clinic and Ms Tracey Stobo attended the event to receive the cheque. Australia provides us with stability, safe home and the right to dream. Since the UALM event started 21 years ago, more than 160 people have received these recognisable awards, proud to stand tall, represent their home country and where they live. They are a handful of the Lebanese immigrants who have revealed a strong desire to be identified with Australia. Happy Australia Day!
Ualm Media Team.