Toowoomba has received two prestigious multicultural awards announced by the Multicultural Affairs Queensland Department of the State Government on 6 September.
The Cultural Diversity Ambassador (Regional) was awarded to Mrs Gitie House, President of the Toowoomba International Multicultural Society (TIMS). The award recognises an individual who has demonstrated an outstanding and sustained commitment to promoting the values of multiculturalism and promoting harmonious community relations.
The Regional community organisation award which recognises not-for-profit, community-based organisations that have shown leadership in supporting cultural diversity in regional Queensland was also awarded to TIMS. TIMS has successfully promoted the benefits of cultural diversity within south west Queensland, delivering an impressive range of community development initiatives for a small, volunteer, not-for-profit organisation. Notable achievements include the Toowoomba Language and Cultures Festival and cultural awareness programs.
Gitie House has made significant and sustained contributions to developing and increasing cross-cultural understanding in the Toowoomba region. Her work has been dedicated to creating an inclusive community through social, cultural and educational activities; crossing all age groups, faiths and cultures and recognising the rich cultural diversity of the region.
Accepting the Cultural Diversity Ambassador award from Premier Campbell Newman, Gitie House said, “Queensland and the rest of Australia is becoming increasingly diverse. Prosperity and harmony in diversity comes from mutual sharing and learning. This takes a big heart so that we are all able to celebrate the diversity and enjoy the many facets in which it enriches our lives. It requires everyone to open their hearts and minds and make room for each other. I’d like to thank the Australian people past and present, the traditional owners, the long established, the mainstream and the new Australians and also all the levels of the Australian Government for their concerted efforts in striving to bring people together, to help break barriers, build bridges and bonds. Together we can continue to build a harmonious and peaceful society where people of all backgrounds can flourish.”
Vice-president Ms Daphne Fung accepted the award for TIMS from the Minister for Multicultural Affairs Glen Elmes. “TIMS, is a grass roots community organisation whose members are all volunteers — individuals, families, cultural groups and organisations who are committed to building a harmonious multicultural community. Our members strive to work collaboratively with people from other backgrounds including Indigenous Australians, mainstream Australians, migrants and refugees to create an environment of mutual sharing and learning so that we can all enjoy the benefits of our different cultures in a harmonious way.”