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Ombudsman Deborah Glass discusses plans for achieving fairness for all Victorians


Tuesday, 7 March 2015 -- The Australian Intercultural Society organised a luncheon for about 80 guests on 7 April 2015, featuring Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass OBE. The event was titled, "Seeking fairness for marginalised members of the community".

Welcoming remarks were given by Ahmet Keskin, executive director of AIS, followed by an introduction by facilitator Rev'd Dr Gordon Preece, director of the Ethos Centre for Christianity and Society.

During her talk, Deborah Glass outlined the history of the ombudsman role and emphasised its importance for all Victorians today. She also highlighted several of her long-term goals, including creating a single complaints portal that would help connect people with the appropriate ombudsman service.

"I'd like to make it easier for people to complain," Glass said. She reiterated that complaints are useful because they provide critical feedback on how an organisation can improve and maintain accountability for its actions.

To make her office more accessible, Glass said she would like to develop informational materials for third-party advocates who deal directly with marginalised groups. She would also like to change legislation to allow complaints to be submitted in a variety of ways, as currently they must be submitted in writing.

Glass explained, "It all heads in the general direction of ensuring that all Victorians have a voice, that we work to redress that imbalance of power between the individual and the state."

The event concluded with a Q&A session and the presentation of gifts of thanks.

This event was also covered by the Herald Sun's John Masanauskas here.

AIS would like to thank the event sponsor, Arzu Hair Design, for their generous support.




Keynote Speech


Muslims, Catholics discuss commonalities during Maryam Meal

Wednesday, 25 March 2015 -- The Australian Intercultural Society (AIS) and the Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission (EIC) co-hosted the Muslim and Catholic Maryam Meal for approximately 100 guests at the Catholic Leadership Centre in East Melbourne. The dinner focused on two topics: Mary as a common figure to both Catholicism and Islam, and the contributions of Islam and Catholicism to society and culture.

The choice of date was especially meaningful as 25 March marks the Feast of the Annunciation for Catholics, and 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the 1965 Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions.

Welcoming remarks were given by the Very Rev Fr Denis Stanley, EIC chair and Episcopal Vicar of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, and Ahmet Keskin, executive director of AIS.

Keynote speakers included Sr Dr Mary Reaburn, NDS, lecturer in Biblical Studies at Yarra Theological Union and member of EIC, as well as Dr Zuleyha Keskin, course coordinator and lecturer at Charles Sturt University.

Other speakers included Bishop Mark Edwards OMI, auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, who led the prayer for God's blessing on the meal; Sheikh Riad Galil, imam of West Heidelberg Mosque, who recited from the chapter of the Qur'an titled Maryam (19:16-22); and Martin Chatfield, member of the Catholic Interfaith Committee, who recited from the second chapter of the Holy Gospel: the Gospel according to St Luke.

These discussions highlighted how both the Islamic and Catholic traditions honour Mary as an excellent role model for men and women alike.

To complement the talks, two videos were shown. The first video, produced by the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne and titled Contributions of the Catholic Church to Society and Culture, demonstrated Catholicism's impact on multiple aspects of society, such as family structure, music, art and architecture. The second video, 1001 Inventions and the Library of Secrets, considered the scientific heritage of Muslim civilisation from the perspective of several schoolchildren. 

The meal concluded with a discussion of the evening's themes.

AIS would especially like to thank EIC Executive Officer David Schütz for all his efforts in organising this event.

Video: Welcomes and Blessing


Video: Readings and Keynote Speeches



Archived News

Upcoming Events

Sun Jun 07, 2015 @ 7:00PM - 09:30PM
International Festival of Language and Culture
Mon Jun 22, 2015 @ 4:30PM -
2015 Victorian State Parliament Iftar Dinner
Wed Aug 19, 2015 @12:00AM
Luncheon with Ged Kearney

Past Events, Photos and Videos

Sun May 24, 2015 @12:00AM
BBQs and Brekkies
Tue Apr 07, 2015 @12:00PM - 01:30PM
Luncheon with Deborah Glass
Wed Mar 25, 2015 @ 6:30PM - 09:30PM
Muslim and Catholic Maryam Meal
Wed Dec 17, 2014 @ 7:00PM -
Whirling Dervishes 2014
Tue Dec 09, 2014 @ 6:00PM - 08:30PM
"Love is a Verb" Documentary
Sat Dec 06, 2014 @ 5:00PM - 07:00PM
2014 Anatolian Culture and Arts Festival VIP Program
Tue Nov 25, 2014 @10:30AM - 11:45AM
Morning Tea with Greg Barton and Mehmet Ozalp
Sat Nov 01, 2014 @10:00AM -
AIS Moves to a New Address
Wed Oct 15, 2014 @11:45AM - 01:45PM
Luncheon with Adam Bandt, Australian Greens Deputy Leader

Intercultural Study Tours

The AIS is organising several projects for 2014 and 2015 which include a ANZAC Spirit Study Tour. For more information on Study Tour registration and itinerary, please contact the AIS. Read more...

Ramadan Iftars

Iftar dinner programs will commence with the beginning of Ramadan. Read more...

Luncheon Forums

Luncheon forums are designed to cultivate friendship, celebrate multiculturalism, promote dialogue, social harmony and social inclusiveness and deepen intercultural awareness among the many diverse cultures of Australia. Read more...


Australian Intercultural Society organises several intercultural conferences aimed to benefit relationships between different communities. Read more...

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