One of Australia’s newest refugee communities has come out on top in the community award at the National Multicultural Marketing Awards announced at the Westin Hotel in Sydney tonight by the Premier, Barry O’Farrell and the Minister for Citizenship and Communities, Victor Dominello.
The Australian Somali Football Association was named winner of the Community Awards sponsored by the AFL, for its staging of the inaugural Australian Somali Men’s Football Championships last December, in Melbourne and Moonee Valley.
ASFA Chairman Ahmed Dini accepts the National Multicultural
The awards, which aim to draw attention to opportunities created by cultural diversity, have been presented by the NSW Community Relations Commission (CRC) for the last 21 years.
After the announcement, the Chair of the CRC, Stepan Kerkyasharian, praised the leader of the Australian Somali Football Association, Ahmed Dini, who has just been named the Australia Day local hero 2012 for Victoria: “Ahmed is an outstanding role model for all young men from the Horn of Africa as they try to find their place in Australian society. Sport is obviously the smart route to integration and acceptance.”
“What is exciting about this project is that it is a victory for the community itself. With support from the Football Federation of Victoria and a host of government, local government and non- government bodies, the Australian Somali Football Association staged the largest and most successful Somali community event in Australian history and certainly the largest sportingevent organised by the community.
“New communities progress well when they are able to organise for themselves and find the necessary support from the broader Australian society.
“The Australian Somali community is now, through this project, starting to create a new wave of young community leaders who are already well integrated into Australian society. Those leaders have now brought forward a new generation of community heroes on the football field to inspire the youthful members of the community. The young men who have already been recognised for their sporting talent now have a direct pathway to mainstream Australia”, he said.
Following the success of the championships the Association formed a representative team, “Unite FC” which went to Barcelona for the under 18 Mediterranean International cup – the premier under 18s tournament in the world. As a result, of this the team has been incorporated into the Federal Federation of Victoria’s United Through Football Program, targeting Horn of Africa communities and funded by VicHealth. Those players now have a direct pathway to have their talent recognised in this sport.”
The winners of the seven categories announced tonight were:
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and ASFA Chairman Ahmed Din
- Grand Winner and Advertising and Communication Award: LOUD Multicultural
- AFL Community Award: Australian Somali Football Association
- Commercial Small Business Award: Interconnected Pty Ltd
- Export Award: Homart Pharmaceuticals
- Government Award: University of Wollongong
- Commercial Big Business Award: HSBC Bank Australia