AACCI Iftar Dinner 2024

On Wednesday, 27 March AACCI hosted a very successful Iftar Dinner at the Royal Docklands Reception in Docklands, Melbourne. This annual event brought together the Arab and Victorian communities on the occasion of celebrating the holy month of Ramadan in the spirit of friendship and hospitality.

The AACCI Iftar Dinner 2024 was hosted by Mr Naim Melhem OAM, AACCI Victoria Chair and attended by 180 guests. The AACCI Iftar Dinner guests included the representatives of Victorian Government, Muslim religious leaders, consular corps and leaders of community organisations, Global Victoria representatives, AACCI members and members of broader Victorian and Arab communities.

AACCI was very privileged to have the Iftar Dinner officiated by Sheikh Hadi Zaatari Al Azhari, Imam of Sunnah Mosque in Glenroy with a Koran recital followed by the Adh an (Sunset Prayer).

In accordance with the tradition, fast was then broken with dates and water, followed by dinner which included a wide selection of Middle Eastern Ramadan specialty dishes and salads, main course, fruit, coffee & tea, and pastries.

Mr Naim Melhem OAM, AACCI Victoria Chair opened the official AACCI Iftar Dinner 2024 program with the formal welcome to country and guests.  In his opening address, Mr Naim Melhm OAM highlighted that the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry was established 49 years ago as the peak, national and membership-based organisation, supporting two-way trade, investment and relations between Australia and the Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA).

To that extent one of AACCI’s key focuses, is on deepening cultural understanding of the diverse Arab customs and traditions for the benefit and support of AACCI members trading across the MENA as well as deepening relations between the Arab communities and broader Victorian communities.

Over the years AACCI enjoyed the knowledge and experience shared with us by Muslim religious leaders and business community, demystifying halal trade and the many aspects of the Arab culture for the benefit of trade and relations between Australia and the MENA region.

The Victorian Government was represented by Mr Lee Tarlamis OAM MP, Government Whip in the Legislative Council, who delivered a very positive address on behalf of The Hon Ingrid Stitt MP, Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, highlighting the importance of government grants support of events fostering multicultural integrity and benefiting the Victorian community.

Further, as part of the program, the inspiring comments made by Sheikh Wissam Saad, Principal of the Salamah College from Glenroy Private, deeply resonated with the Iftar Dinner guests.

The formal program also included a speech delivered by Ms Amina Abdulrahman, in her first year of Bachelor of Education at La Trobe University, and a former student and School Captain of the Salamah College, Glenroy Private. As a young Victorian representing the Muslim community, Ms Amina shared some of her insights on the meaning and the deep Ramadan traditions as well as her aspirations to building a more inclusive society based on mutual respect and understanding.

The formal part of the evening was concluded by Mr Naim Melhem OAM, who in his closing comments, thanked all the guests for their participation and acknowledged the Victorian Government’s grant support.  Finally, guests were invited for official group photos, which were followed by vibrant informal networking, forging new relationships and new opportune connections.

In summary, the AACCI Iftar Dinner 2024 once again brought together Victorians from different cultural backgrounds and faiths as well as raised awareness that whilst different, every culture promotes friendship, inclusiveness and ultimately builds deeper understanding and tolerance, which are very important to a progressive and well-functioning society in Victoria.

 

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