The 41st anniversary of the Assyrian Australian Association’s founding was celebrated with a special ceremony highlighting its past, present and future roles in fulfilling the social, cultural and educational needs of Assyrian Australians.
The ceremony, held on the 27th of November, was attended by His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia, Archbishop of the Diocese of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon, and Reverend John Kushaba, parish priest of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish.
His Beatitude thanked the Association’s founders for their role in its success and dedication in serving the community in Australia, and their role in the opening of Sydney’s first Assyrian Church of the East parish, St Mary’s Church.
The Diqlat Assyrian School, established by the Association in 1974 was also praised by His Beatitude as being a tool in the protection of Assyrian culture and literature through its teaching and mastery of language and heritage. The school is credited with supplying these teachings to many of the Assyrian Church of the East’s deacons and priests, and continues to run Assyrian language classes for both children and adults.
His Beatitude talked about the church’s role in the management of the Association’s facility, formerly known as Nineveh Club, and aspirations for future renovations and constructions to fulfill the needs of the Assyrian society in Sydney. The church is now in the process of establishing new projects following the soon-to-be-completed model village for retirees and the elderly in Fairfield.
The future role of the Association was also highlighted by His Beatitude, who said education and awareness will further develop through the Assyrian community’s support of Mar Narsai Assyrian College. The goal of the church, said His Beatitude, is to support the community and the activation of its activities, integration and address concerns of social alienation, as well as to support Christian immigrants.
The anniversary ceremony also featured speeches from Philemon Darmo, one of the founders of the Association, and Dinkha Warda, President of the Association, who spoke of the Association’s role in acting between the circles of Assyrian Australian society, as well as strengthening social ties through a variety of tasks.
Mr Darmo and Mr Warda paid tribute to The Assyrian Schools in Sydney and highlighted the harmonious atmosphere provided by these schools, which have achieved the correlation of linguistic, national and religious elements for students in Kindergarten to Year 12. The Assyrian Schools, which incorporate St Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School and Mar Narsai Assyrian College, together have about 1000 students currently enrolled.
The ceremony also emphasised the Association’s role in radio broadcasts through the Australian station SBS, as well as its history in embracing dozens of festivals and cultural, artistic and sporting activities over four decades.
A number of community members were also honoured for their dedication throughout the Assyrian Australian Association’s active years, including Juliet Karim, Sargon Odisho, Sargon Gabriel and Emmanuel Simon.[nggallery id=103]