In a glittering ceremony, the Lions Club of Sydney Indian confers award of excellence for the highest level of professional achievement and community service to Prof Veena Sahajwalla and Dr GK (Hari) Harinath respectively. Hon. Mr Ray Williams, Minister for Multiculturalism and Minister for Disability Services (Representing the Premier NSW Hon. Gladys Berejiklian) handed over the award plaques to the awardees. The Club’s President Dr Rohitas Batta presented Lions plaque to Minister Williams in acknowledgement of his consistent support in advancing multiculturalism in Australia and also particularly assisting the Lions.
It was an incredible evening at the Macquarie room of the NSW Parliament on Wednesday 11th October 2017 under the patronage of the Hon Minister, Mr Ray Williams. With the Indian traditional lamp lighting, symbolising the light removing the darkness of ignorance by knowledge and spiritual awakening was followed by a singing of national anthems of Australia and India. The audience were amazed to hear the Lions Club President Dr Rohitas Batta giving a concise insight into the several projects and achievements of the club mainly in health and wellbeing from its inception in 2015, when the club was chartered in the same Macquarie room of NSW Parliament.
Lion Shruti Gupta introduced Prof Veena Sahajwalla to the audience. Prof. Sahajwalla was named one of Australia’s most Innovative Engineers (Engineers Australia) in 2016 and in 2017 she was awarded the prestigious Jubilee Professorship by the Indian Academy of Sciences and many more awards came to her from both internationally and within Australia. Lion’s recognition was for her immense contribution to the environmental sustainability in manufacturing and waste products usually in a conflict between manufacturing sector and the adverse environmental impact they create. To summarise, the disruptive green technologies that she has patented can transform waste almost anywhere it is stockpiled, Sustainable Materials Research and Technology green materials create local jobs that also help deliver a sustainable planet.
Lion’s award to Dr G.K (Hari) Harinath, OAM was an accolade to his tireless service to the community in various roles. He has been the Chair of Multicultural NSW Advisory Board since September 2014. Dr Harinath is also the Chairman of Parramasala, and has been a long-time leader within the Indian Australian community. A well-respected General Practitioner for over 35 years, serving the community in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and being a Managing Partner of the East Garden Medical Centre, he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2009 for service to cricket and the community. Responding to the recognition Dr Harinath stated that he has always cherished working for and with the community and that he is proud of Indian community of which he himself belongs.
The Lions showcased its “WE SERVE” motto and community engagement for great causes. Within a span of three hours of this memorable evening, the event handled many important and valuable subjects of the community needs and aspirations. It effectively dealt with multiculturalism, ethnic community cross-working cohesively without any barriers, Indian flavour dance and music both classical and contemporary, environmental sustainability in manufacturing, waste reduction, recycling, innovation, motivation, spiritual outlook in personal development and capability building, medical research break-throughs, fundraising for measles awareness program spearheaded by the Lions Clubs International Foundation, networking with ministers, parliamentarians, Councillors and guests.
In the role of MC, the talented Mrs Ashlley Kapoor articulated the formal proceedings by respectfully acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land and paying respect to the aboriginal elders both past and present. She produced a mesmerising effect by adding the Indian greeting, “NAMASTE” meaning: I salute the divine in you” to all those present.
In spite of the Parliament in session in progress, the Hon Minister Williams made time to spend with the audience as well as to convey his message of multiculturalism and how best the community organisations, including Lions Clubs can contribute to improving this idea of a remarkable society. He reminded that Australia is the most prominent multicultural society in the world that we all can be proud of but needs to work continuously to perfect it.
Hon. David Elliot, Minister for Counter-Terrorism, Minister for Corrections and Minister for Veterans Affairs congratulated the Lions Club of Sydney Indian in holding this event and also for the exemplary work it carries out in the service of the community.
Also present were parliamentarians including Mr. Scott Farlow, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, Mr Stephen Bromehead, MP and President of Parliamentary Lions Club and Ms Jodie McKay, MP. The speakers applauded the role Lions Club of Sydney Indian plays in harmonising and channelling energy into productive projects and wished the office bearers to succeed in their aims of higher aspirations of serving the community. Among the dignitaries present were Dr NIhal Agar, Mr JayRaman, Clr Reena Jethi, Ms Pallavi Sinha, Mr Phillip Cenere, Dr Prabhat Sinha, Dr. Rosy Lalmalsawmi Khuma Bawitlung, Dr Sol Qurashi, mr John Kennedy, Mr Harpreet Singh, Mr MP Singh and Others.
The Keynote speaker Professor Sahajwalla explained in simple terms so that anyone could understand her research around revolutionising recycling science and of the next industrial revolution centred on disruptive green technologies. She also gave a short overview of a micro-factory, its local and global impact and about UNSW’s Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) founded by her. The world’s landfills are packed with useful elements and materials like carbon, hydrogen, silica, titania and various oxides, that our industries usually source from virgin resources. Much of the vast wealth of resources embedded in the waste cannot be easily recovered using conventional recycling methods, because of the increasing complexity of the products and materials we throw away. Prof Sahajwala said that UNSW’s micro-factory technology offers new opportunities to generate income from waste and to create local jobs, while delivering local and global environmental benefits.
The guests were entertained with Bollywood medley with the great hand gesture, footwork and beautiful colourful costumes performed with some of the popular songs by Ms Khushboo Sethi, Ms Parul Amin and Ms Sujata Nathoo from Vijanti AmarseeBollywood Dance School. Manjusha Pai pleased the audience with a playing of Veena accompanied by Venkat on Tabla recited “Shakti Sahita Ganapathim” invoking salutations to Lord Ganesh.
The Lions District Governor Ron Gattone vitalised the audience with his motivational and philosophical talk and told of the amazing work the Lions carries out throughout the world with its 1.4 million members across more than 200 countries and geographic areas. Ron now regards that the service that he provides to his fellow humans and to those less fortunate than himself, as the rent that he pays for the privilege of living on this Earth. Ron disclosed District Governor’s theme to be “Personal development is the key to life “and his mission in life “to powerfully influence in a positive way every person he interacts with”. Ron’s ultimate goal is self-mastery. Dr Sundar Subbarao and his team of medical assistants were on site checking the blood pressure of guests and giving his assessment/advice. Dr Sundar also spoke at length on the measles disease and associated complications.
The focus theme of the day’s event being measles awareness and raise funds for donating to the Lions Club International Foundation in order to support in their extensive work on eradicating measles altogether. The foundation requests, “Support the One Shot One Life: Lions Measles Initiative. LCIF partners with various organizations around the world to vaccinate the children who need it most.
The Joint Secretary of the Club, Lion Kranthi Chinnibathini acknowledged the sponsors for their support that helped the event achieve its fundraising aim – the major sponsors, MsMittu Gopalan of Freedman and Gopalan – Solicitors, Ms Shelly of National Australia Bank, Lion Raj Bhandari of Starr Partners, Lion Dr Noor Abdul and Dr Khan from OSAN Ability Assist, Dr. Sol Quraishi from Harbour city Orthopaedics, Sukhwinder Rajput from ESMA by bestowing them with the club’s plaque. Kranthi also thanked Prof Nihal Agar, AM President of the Hindu Council of Australia, the events community partner and theTechnocrats’Association of Australia, and Ponds Photography( Sandeep Singh) for partnering the event. Special mention was made of the Hon Minister Ray Williams, Hon Minister David Elliot, Parliamentarians, Professor Veena Sahajwala, Dr Hari Harinath and Lion Ron Gattone, the District Governor of the Lions. For the event’ publicity support and effectiveness, the media partners Punjab Times, Malayaleepathram, The Indian Sun, The Indian Telegraph, Indus age, Fiji Times and Hindi Gaurav – were acknowledged.
Mr Stephen Bromhead, MP and President of NSW Parliamentary Lions Club invited the audience to their Gala dinner on Thursday 16 Nov 2017 to raise funds in support of the brain cancer research in association with the Lions Children’s cancer genome project. In spite of hosting an important event for visiting business delegations at the Consulate, Hon. Mr Vanlal Vawna, Indian Consul General made it a point to come to the event and network with the guests, though for a short time, to show his deep appreciation and support for the Lions Club of Sydney Indians’ work.
Another highlight of the evening was an induction of two new members of the Club, Lion Raj Bhandari and Lion Nidhi Mehta by District Governor Lion Ron Gattone. The formal proceedings were concluded with networking drinks and tasty variety nibbles, thanks to the Parliament’s Catering unit for their excellent support and hospitality.