On Sunday March 19, 2017 IMA was excited to host our annual Gala Dinner held at Bell City Mantra, in Preston. This evening was an opportunity for diverse community groups to come together in celebration of an overarching commonality: a commitment to the Islamic Museum, its vision and mission of bringing together a range of groups in society, in recognition of the diversity that makes this multicultural nation so rich and unique.
A moving Welcome to Country and address by Ron Murray officially opened the night, the powerful echoes of the digeridoo rippling across the room in acknowledgement of the Indigenous peoples that lie at the very roots of this migrant nation. Azmeena Hussain, our MC for the evening guided our attendees through the Gala Dinner Program, her spirited humour and energy propelling the multitude of performances and speeches delivered throughout the course of the night. Guests were treated to a decadent three course meal catered by the exclusive Steven Ginn accompanied by an eclectic range of entertainment ranging from a vibrant African Drum Group, to a powerful spoken word performance by Sharifa Tartoussi, an emerging poetry performer and community activist whose subjective interpretation of the Australian Muslim migrant experience was both moving and invigorating. A lively auction hosted at the end of the evening saw a thrilling Silk Road tour through China sponsored by Cedar Jet Travel sold to a gentleman whose Eastern adventures await!
IMA was honoured to have a range of dignitaries attend this special evening including The Hon Dr. Richard Di Natale, The Hon Mark Dreyfus, The Hon Philip Daladakis and Frank Maguire. IMA also sends out its well wishes to the Hon Inga Peulich who was unable to attend the Gala, but sent us her apologies. Our honourable guests took to the stage in turns to remind us of what lies at the very heart of the Australian dream, a drive to ensure that each and every member of our society, receives a fair go; an opportunity to have their voice heard, their views respected and to actively contribute to the growth of our nation.
At its heart, IMA is a community led and oriented organisation and our work would not be possible without the tireless commitment of our dedicated volunteers. From our tour guides who accompany our visitors on a journey through Islamic art, heritage and discovery, to the smiling faces that greet you in our IMA reception and gift shop, every individual that is part of the IMA family should feel proud of how far our institution has come and the endeavours and adventures that we have yet to embark upon.
The Gala Dinner was also an event recognising the importance of our corporate sponsors in ensuring that we are able to continue funding educational, artistic and community programs for the benefit of our community in the years to come. A heartfelt thanks is duly offered to platinum sponsor La Trobe University and to Dorevitch Pathology, Vic Constructions, PrintLogistics, Piety Investments, Fettayleh Smallgoods, Vcon Homes and lastly, Osmium for their partnership and generous support in successfully hosting our Gala Dinner, without which we would not be able to work tirelessly to educate the broader community about the beauty and rich contributions of the Islamic faith to Australian society and more broadly, the world.
The significance of the Islamic contribution to both ancient civilisation, as well as in modern day discourse was aptly summarised in a keynote address that captured the audience by Ahmed Fahour OAM, IMA Patron who on the night noted that:
‘In its origins, the museum had one objective, one very important objective, to put a different image of Muslims and their contribution to Australia and to the world in a different light. To demonstrate the beauty of Muslim people in the area of the arts, museums, creativity and culture, internationally but most importantly, for our own country.’
Fahour’s powerful words were an inspiring reminder of the significant role that this museum plays in shaping the perceptions surrounding Australian Muslims, shedding light on alternative narratives, inspiring, educating and empowering generations of Australian citizens to come. Over $550,000 was raised on this special evening to help ensure the IMA continues to build on its legacy and objectives to enhance a socially cohesive and harmonious society. The IMA Board, staff members, volunteers and community supporters are overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity of our IMA Gala Dinner attendees and supporters and thank you for allowing us to make the dream of working towards cultivating a cohesive and supportive Australian society, a reality.