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Premier’s Award for Community Harmony

October 17th, 2016

Recognising the outstanding achievements of a person or organisation that has developed programs, strategies or activities which furthered cross-cultural and cross-religious harmony in Victoria, and has initiated activities involving different cultural or religious groups working together on a project that demonstrates or promotes harmony and increases mutual understanding.

Winner: John Gandel AO and Pauline Gandel

Through both Gandel Philanthropy and their own individual contributions, John and Pauline have supported numerous organisations across Australia which promote cultural, religious and social cohesion, as well as helping to deliver programs that tackle racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and intolerance.

One of their most important programs is the Gandel Holocaust Studies Program for Australian Educators at the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem. Aimed at Australian secondary school teachers, the program is designed to equip them to teach about the Holocaust and human rights in the most appropriate and relevant way. So far more than 150 teachers from across Australia have completed the course, with many coming from Victorian schools.

One of their longest-standing involvements has been with the Australian and Victorian Councils of Christians and Jews (CCJ), which they have been supporting since 1997. Through the Victorian Council, John and Pauline helped fund the production and distribution to many schools of the Intercultural Connections Through Story book, which was produced by the CCJ.

John and Pauline have been supporting the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) for more than a decade, and are responsible for the rejuvenated ADC Annual Gandel Oration. This event features prominent, international speakers addressing sold-out crowds in Melbourne on topics related to human rights, racial and religious abuse and the importance of building bridges in our communities. They also supported the ADC’s ‘Click Against Hate’ program, educating young people about cyber bullying, especially in the context of racial or religious vilification.

Through Gandel Philanthropy, John and Pauline also initiated the ‘Shout Out’ program, delivered through the Centre for Multicultural Youth. The program is designed to strengthen the capacity of young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds to have their voices heard, and to be their own advocates in the broader community. This program helps to break down stereotypes and barriers, fostering a better understanding of other cultures and religions.

View Awards booklet

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