Cultural Diversity Week : Premier's Gala 2018

By: Brad Klibansky - Tobin Brothers Funerals
Monday, March 19, 2018

Tobin Brothers Funerals is honored to have over 200 wonderful staff from a diverse range of cultures and religions who together can speak 28 different languages. This year we’re once again proud to be partners of Cultural Diversity Week. The week invites everyone to embrace and celebrate the rich array of Melbourne’s cultural diversity and modern multicultural identities and is held annually to coincide with the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Harmony Day on March 21.

To launch Cultural Diversity Week, Tobin Brothers Funerals felt privileged to host a table at the Premier’s Gala Dinner, represented by several staff. The dinner was held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre for over 1100 people from a wide range of cultures and religions. The room was buzzing and filled with vibrant colours and beaming faces. 

Front row (L-R): Julius Samarakoon, Brad Klibansky and George Tsementzis. Back row (L-R)- Teresa Lucisano, Mick Miksad, Gina Tsalikis, Sophie Soklevski, John Luu, Tony Nguyen

Before long we were transported into a world of new and wondrous sights, sounds and dance. The opening acts were made up of the CaribVic Carnival dancers and the St Paul’s Lutheran choir. A great opening to what was to be a perfect night.

One of the highlights was a beautiful rendition of Advance Australia Fair, which stirred everyone in the room. It was a truly incredible and moving experience to listen to our National Anthem sung by so many people brought together from all over the world.

Before the formal proceedings kicked off, we were fortunate enough to be treated to more inspirational entertainment. Acts included talented singer Gawurra, a member of the Yolngu people of North East Arnhem Land who is sharing his culture with the world through music; Turkish Cypriot Folk Dancers, who through their choreography, costumes and used of traditional instruments tell stories of various aspects of the Cypriot lifestyle; Singaporean indie-RnB and electronic singer Charlie Lim and the incredible Ignite Bollywood dance company who mesmerized the audience with their striking colours and glamour of contemporary India.

In between the festivities and thrilling entertainment we heard some poignant words from our Premier the Hon Daniel Andrews, the Hon Linda Dessau, Governor of Victoria, the Hon Robin Scott, Minister of Multicultural Affairs and the Hon Matthew Guy, Leader of the Opposition. All spoke with great optimism and passion about the multicultural state we live in and how privileged we are to be a part of the wonderful city of Melbourne.

Sophie Soklevski with the Turkish Cypriot Folk Dancers

At this point I thought to myself, how lucky are we to live in Melbourne where cultural diversity is not only accepted but celebrated? How lucky are we to live in a city whose varied cultural expressions make up the rich tapestry of our own lives? In Victoria our culinary lives can be marked with eating in China Town one night or enjoying fine dining Italian the next, or if you’re feeling more like a night in, moreish Greek souvas in front of the TV and finishing with Friday take away Fish and Chips. Now that’s culture!

Tobin Brothers has long understood the importance of the cultural heritage in a person’s identity. At a time of loss the cultural heritage of family is often sought out as a ritual and practice that people can be reassured of. Tobin Brothers actively employs representatives with many and varied cultural backgrounds to best support the cultural needs of the community. Therefore it was with great pride that Tobin Brothers Funerals representatives of Chinese, South African, Greek, Italian, Macedonian, Vietnamese and Sri-Lankan backgrounds were able to be a part of these cultural celebrations and promote this service to the community.


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