On Sunday November 17th 2019, approximately 230 people gathered at Springvale City Hall for the 2019 Victorian Interfaith Networks Conference. The event was hosted by The Interfaith Network of the City of Greater Dandenong and the Faith Communities Council of Victoria, and proudly sponsored by The City of Greater Dandenong.

city hallVenue of 2019 Victorian Interfaith Networks Conference: Springvale City Hall

Proceedings commenced with various faith and community stands on display, a delicious lunch and an opportunity for people to network. The Interfaith Network of the City of Greater Dandenong also celebrated 30 years of interfaith engagement within the local community with a birthday cake cutting ceremony.

photo gallery2Faith Stands: Karuna Spirituality Centre (left) and Baha'i Community (right)

photo gallery2Community Stands: Woggle Box (left) and 'Many Faiths One People' coffee book (right)

photo gallery5Lunch: Beautiful lunch provided by Free to Feed lunch catering (left)
 Interfaith Network of the City of Greater Dandenong's 30th birthday cake cutting ceremony:
Jim Memeti (Mayor of City of Greater Dandenong) & Agnes Kean (President of The Interfaith Network of the City of Greater Dandenong) (right)

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photo gallery7Attendants from various multicultural and multifaith backgrounds

A Welcome to Country was given by Aunty Di Kerr OAM (Wurundjeri Tribe Elder) with Dave Dryden (Yorta Yorta) on didgeridoo. This was followed by dignitary speeches from Ms Khayshie Ramesh (Victorian Multicultural Commission Youth Commissioner), Agnes Kean (President of The Interfaith Network of the City of Greater Dandenong), Councillor Jim Memeti (Mayor of City of Greater Dandenong), and Reverend Ian Smith (Secretary of Faith Communities Council of Victoria). A special performance was given by the 'World Famous' Interfaith Bell Choir. Master of Ceremonies was Reverend David Brooker.

dignitaries animation

This year’s keynote speech was by Fablice Manirakiza on the topic of  'My faith and Refugee Journey'. Fablice grew up as a child soldier in war-torn Burundi. In 2007 Fablice escaped his country arriving in Australia as a refugee where has has established himself as an advocate for migrant and refugee communities, a hip hop artist, presenter, actor, festival producer and curator.

Like Fablice, many others have been forced to flee to safety and seek asylum in Australia. But for some the words ‘refugee’ and ‘asylum seeker’ conjures up negative stereotypes. Misinformation and the political debate on border protection is overshadowing the positive contributions refugees make to society. This year's conference sought to address misconceptions about refugees and asylum seekers and provided an opportunity to celebrate the courage and often unrecognised achievements of people who are inspirational role models and community leaders.

photo gallery4The 'World Famous' Interfaith Bell Choir

Upon the conclusion of dignitary speeches, a number of workshops were conducted throughout the Springvale City Hall.

Workshops titles were:
1: Refugees and Asylum Seekers: A Celebration of Courage and Achievements
2: Voices of Youth: My Faith, My Generation
3: Faith and Creative Arts: a hands on experience!
4: Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme

For a description of each workshop click here

workshops animation

The conference concluded with (i) a performance from participants in workshop 3 (Performing Arts & Faith) and (ii) Reverend Ian Smith (Faith Communities Council of Victoria) announcing Melton and Wyndham to co-host the 2020 Victorian Interfaith Networks Conference. Delegates from the Melton Interfaith Network and Wyndham Interfaith Network together with council representatives from the City of Melton and City of Wyndham were invited on stage to receive the message stick and to invite people to next year's conference.

photo gallery1
Participants from workshop 3 (Performing Arts & Faith) offer their performance

host announcement 2020
2019 VINC hosts (The Interfaith Network of the City of Greater Dandenong) pass the message stick to the
2020 Victorian Interfaith Networks Conference delegation (City of Wyndham & City of Melton)

 

Further Information on the 2019 Victorian Interfaith Networks Conference

 

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