This award recognises the efforts of individuals and organisations, with any or no religious affiliation, that have done the most to improve understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims in Australia. It was developed in 2012 in conjunction with the Australia Day Council of SA. It is part of the centre’s remit to work towards improving relations between those who are Muslims and those who are not and is a means of celebrating those members of the community who have done the most to improve understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims in Australia.
- widely disseminates good practices that make a significant contribution to improving relations between Muslim and non-Muslim people
- publicly acknowledges and rewards good works and inspirational role models
- acts as a catalyst for public debate and engagement.
Our hope is that the award will contribute to developing national social harmony and community cohesion.
Funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
2014 award recipients
Brad Chilcott (left) | Hieu Van Le, Governor of South Australia, and Queensland Eidfest President, Yasmin Khan and Committee Member Dr Rubana Moola (right)
The recipient of the organisation category of the award was the Queensland Eidfest which was established in 2005 with a goal of social inclusion. This annual event is held on the Saturday following the end of Ramadan, and is supported by both the Brisbane City Council and the State Government, and attracts thousands of Muslims and non-Muslims each year to the event. During the event, upwards of 70 stall holders sell food and goods from diverse cultural traditions that share the Islamic faith.
The Queensland Eidfest showcases the complexity, breadth and cultural richness of Muslim Australia. It is an example of how to present a vehicle for intercultural acceptance in an informal setting.
The recipient of the individual category was Pastor Brad Chilcott. Brad is the lead Pastor of the Activate Community in Bowden, South Australia. In April 2011, Brad founded a movement called ‘Welcome to Australia’ designed to give everyday Australians an opportunity to personally and practically engage in the task of cultivating a culture of welcome in their local communities and nation. Welcome to Australia is now a national organisation with branches in 6 cities and a large network of volunteers, partners and more than 80 high-profile ambassadors.
In 2012, Prime Minister Julia Gillard appointed Brad as a People of Australia Ambassador and he was a state finalist in the Australian of the Year (Local Hero) Awards. He was also recognised with a Governor’s Multicultural Award in the Individual category.
Since 2012, Welcome to Australia has been responsible for the national Walk Together events that now take place in more than 20 cities and towns around Australia on the same day. These involve thousands of people calling for a more inclusive national discourse on asylum seekers and multiculturalism.
You can read Brad’s acceptance speech here.
Read more about the 2014 Award for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding.
2013 award recipients
Hobart filmmaker Heather Kirkpatrick was awarded the MnM Award 2013 in the individual category for her film Mary meets Mohammad, which documents the transition in one woman’s life from prejudice and mistrust to understanding and friendship. Through the key protagonists, Mary, an older Christian Australian woman, and Mohammad, a young Muslim asylum seeker in detention, we see an evolution of understanding built through conversation, kindness, patience and experience. The film comes with a study guide for use in Australian schools, providing an opportunity to enrich students’ understanding about the reasons why asylum seekers come to Australia and what it means to be Muslim.
The winner in the organisation category is the Muslim Women’s Association of South Australia. Established in 1993, the association has been working to improve understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim communities for 20 years. Outstanding programs run by the association include the You Will Achieve program, a special speaking circuit of Adelaide schools that aims to build understanding and inspire achievement. This association also works within the community to support families, runs conferences around key issues of misunderstanding including Sharia law, and works to debunk stereotypes about Muslim women.
2012 award recipients
The recipients of the inaugural Award for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding were:
Individual: Bachar Houli, who was recognised for his work as an AFL multicultural ambassador and has been credited with tremendously increasing awareness about his religion among AFL, AFL clubs and the mainstream community.
You can read more about Bachar's activities on his website.
Organisation: Exchange Community Centre, which is nestled in the heart of Kelvin Grove Urban Village some 2.5 km from the Brisbane CBD. The centre opened in 2009 and, in response to a growing representation of Muslim people in the neighbourhood, worked to develop services and programs that encourage community engagement, promote health and well-being, and reduce social isolation.
More information about the Exchange Community Centre is available at its website.
About the Australia Day Council of South Australia
The Australia Day Council of South Australia (ADCSA) is an independent, non-profit, membership based association. Funding and support comes from the Australian Government (via the National Australia Day Council), the Government of South Australia, our membership base (including all Local Councils, Corporate Club and Individual Members), sponsorships, grants, merchandise sales and partnerships with like-minded organisations.
For further information about this award,
please contact the Australia Day Council of SA:
Phone: 08 8463 5436