Nepalese Association of Victoria (NAV) has honoured a number of Australian Nepalese for their contribution to their community, a community recognised as the fastest growing diaspora in the land. NAV Community Awards also recognised those who have achieved extraordinary professional and academic excellence such as Ashim Panta who, at 23 years of age, is already globetrotting for his passion in aerospace engineering.
A category of the Awards also recognises the contribution of non-Nepalese actors for contributions made to the Nepalese diaspora, which this year went to Seven Women, Royal Melbourne Hospital Rehabilitation team and Mosquito Foundation.
Held at Collingwood Town Hall in Melbourne, Saturday’s award ceremony was attended by hundreds of NAV members and community leaders as well as by invitees from the Australian community at large. Also in attendance were Nepal’s special envoy for National Reconstruction Fund Shesh Ghale, Victoria’s minister for multicultural affairs Robin Scott, shadow minister for multicultural affairs Inga Peulich and assistant commissioner of Victoria Police Andrew Crisps.
The programme also marked the formal hand-over of NAV leadership from the outgoing president Sudhir Shakya to the newly-elected president Dr Anupam Pokharel. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Shakya said, “There are also many unsung Heroes in our community who made outstanding achievements and significant contributions without any expectation of rewards or returns. NAV Community Award is to highlight and recognise those individuals or a group.”
Minister Scott spoke highly of the contribution of the Nepalese diaspora to Victoria’s multiculturalism. He also thanked NAV for recognising the achievements and contributions made by members of the community.
Mr Ghale, who is also the president of Non Resident Nepali Association and the CEO of Melbourne Institute of Technology, recalled the massive relief activities undertaken by the Nepalese diaspora in the aftermath of last year’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake. He personally spent considerable time in Nepal and still travels back fairly regularly as he continues to coordinate the diaspora’s participation in the reconstruction efforts. Being an education entrepreneur, he highlighted the importance of education for a migrant community like the Australian Nepalese community and the role education plays in creating opportunities.
Chandra Yonzon, Consul General of Nepal for Victoria, expressed that time has come for Nepalese Australians to aspire to represent at various local government levels and other bodies.
Complete list of ‘NAV Community Awards’ recipients:
Language, Art & Culture
Professional or Academic Achievements
Initiation, Leadership or Advocacy
NAV Commendable Service to Nepalese Community
Royal Melbourne Hospital Rehabilitation team
Young Achiever Award
Dr. Rija Khanal
Drishyant Shrestha (Special Category)