Honoring Women Achievers on International Women’s Day Celebration by the Australian Arabic Cultural Centre/ Boutros Indari Forum




Honoring Notable Women Achievers on International Women’s Day Celebration by the Australian Arabic Cultural Centre/ Boutros Indari Forum

By Marcelle Mansour OAM

International Women’s Day (IWD) is held on March 8 every year, celebrating the remarkable achievements of women around the world. The Australian Arabic Cultural Centre’s (AACC) Annual International Women’s Day celebration brings together Australian Arabic speaking communities and women achievers from various fields to highlight the importance of the multiple roles that women play in advancing societies.

This year, the International Women’s Day was held by The Australian Arabic Cultural Centre/ Boutros Indari Forum on Wednesday, March 6 at Kafarhilda Australia House, Sydney, under the auspices of Kafrhilda Association.  A number of Australian women of diverse Arab origins were honored for their notable contribution to the development of their society. The ceremony was attended by a diverse audience.

The celebration was MC’d by Abbas Mourad, the speakers were: President of the Center, Dr. Mustapha Alamedin who said: “The International Women’s Day has become deeply rooted in our hearts because it means a lot to us in the center and we celebrate it for the seventh consecutive year as one of our activities and priorities.” This was followed by Dr. Imad Berro’s brief word.  Miss Ayat Abu Bashir, a Ph.D. Candidate in Political and Social Science,  made a speech on International Women’s Day in the light of the experience of women in Palestine. The poet Badawi El Hage gave a poem entitled “What Kind of Women Are You?”, and the poet Fouad Neeman El-Khoury recited a poem entitled “Woman’s Day”, both shedding light on the great love and appreciation of women and the glorification of their value in life.

The Honoured ladies were: Ms. Alice Khoury, Ms. Maysa Sawalha, Ms. Jenine Abu Assi, Ms. Louisa Romanos, Ms. Amal Khoury, Ms. Salma Othman, and Ms. Aya Abu Bashir. The Center also honored Mr. Fouad Neeman El-Khoury, Badawi Elhage and Abbas Murad in recognition of their continuous efforts and dedication. The ceremony included music and singing by Malik Rifai.

Congratulations to all honored people, to the members of the Cultural Center Committee, and to all those who contributed to the success of the celebration, with the most beautiful wishes for more success.

Senator Shaoquett Moselmane MLC Honours the Eminent Composer Marcel Khalife



Senator Shaoquett Moselmane MLC Honours the eminent Marcel Khalife, Composer, Singer, and Oud Player.

On Valentine Day, 14 Feb 2019, I had the honor to present to the great Artist Marcel Khalife, my artwork entitled “Passport from the Hearts” that reflects the meaning of humanity in the joint work of Composer/Singer Marcel Khalife and the late poet Mahmoud Darwish. My digital painting is based on his famous poem “Passport” in which he says: “All the hearts of the people are my nationality…So take away my passport!” Thanks to the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane MLC for honoring the eminent Marcel Khalife and for the invite.


This New Year’s Eve Celebration; Fireworks light up Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House

This New Year’s Eve Celebration; Fireworks light up Harbour Bridge & Sydney Opera House

By Marcelle Mansour OAM,

Sydney’s midnight fireworks displays have welcomed the new year 2019 with a series of captivating and record-breaking which wowed thousands of revelers. The fireworks were one of the most complex displays in Australia’s history included gold, purple and silver fireworks pulsating to the tune of (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, made famous by Aretha Franklin, who passed away in August last year.

According to the media reports: “There was strobe on and off in various colours — red, orange, green, lemon — and they’re very bright so the whole Harbour has lighted up.”Magnificent fireworks were displayed over the Harbour included two new colors of lime and peach that never-before-used in the show while the new technology allowed for the use of more pastel. There were also pulsating fireworks representing this year’s theme, the Pulse of Sydney.

Journalists reported that Sydney Harbour show has used 8,5 tonnes of fireworks and featured more than 100,000 pyrotechnic effects. The celebrated coathanger was decorated with an extra 1000 lighting effects and lit until 1 am while the Opera House had more than 800 fireworks shot from its vessels. The show was the by-product of four months of planning, with 18 pyrotechnic computer coordinators.

More than one million people braved stormy conditions in Sydney to celebrate the show that was watched by more than a billion people around the world. Sydney is one of the first cities on earth to start famous Harbour.“As a spectacular fireworks display lit up the sky at midnight, a giant typo was beamed onto a Harbour Bridge pylon telling the crowd it was still 2018.

This New Year’s Eve celebration of the fireworks was just awesome. Fireworks light up the sky over the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge in Australia. We wish this year of 2019 to bring goodness to humanity, the joy on earth, and peace to the world.

Areej Masoud:“Any Hope for Palestine Now, or Ever?”A Speaking Tour Coordinated by (PIEN)



Areej Masoud: “Any Hope for Palestine Now, or Ever?”
A Palestinian Christian Speaking Tour Coordinated by (PIEN) Network

By Marcelle Mansour OAM

Areej Masoud, a Christian Syriac Orthodox Palestinian born in Bethlehem who currently works as the Development & Communications Department Coordinator at Bethlehem Bible College. Areej obtained her qualifications in Theology and Psychology from Bethlehem University and accomplished her dissertation on Zionism and Kairos Palestine Document. Since then, she has become eager to speak on behalf of her people to tell the real story of occupied Palestine. Areej is an activist and a well-articulated passionate speaker who longs to reach out to the world to talk about the reality of the bitter situation of Palestinians that is hidden from the mainstream media.

Areej has recently been on numerous speaking tours affiliated with churches and International peacemaking organizations. She has recently traveled to Australia where her speaking tour was organized by an act of the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network (PIEN). The primary mission of PIEN  is to raise the awareness of people that Australian Christians are seeking lasting peace and justice for the people of Palestine and Israel. It held nationally a full program around the major cities of the Australian interstates such as Perth, Bendigo, Newcastle, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, and in Canberra, the capital city, and others.

In Sydney, I had the opportunity to attend twice Areej’s public lecture titled “Any hope for Palestine now, or ever?” and to hear her insightful talk sharing her stories with Australians.  The lecture was held in Sydney on Wednesday 24th October 2018, at the Tinsley Institute, Morling Colledge, Macquarie Park and followed by dinner.

Pastor Darrell Jackson, the Associate Professor of Missiology, and Senior Lecturer at Morling College at the University of Divinity and Australian College of Theology;  made a concise introduction about the Palestinian issue, said an opening prayer and hosted the event.

Areej Masoud Areej spoke on the subject of the current situation of Palestine accompanied by slides, she made an insightful speech on behalf of her Palestinian people revealing to the world her actual reality of the current political situation; often concealed from mainstream media. A reality of the ongoing tension where access to basic necessities such as health care, education, water, shelter, freedom of movement and economic security is greatly restricted. This dehumanizing plight which facing Palestinian Christians is a major issue. “The conflict is not a conflict of different faiths; it is about the aggression of the Palestinian people suffering the occupation and the loss of their land,” …“According to Christian theologians; The Israeli occupation has a political, cultural and educational impact on Christian Palestinians; Christians suffer the same injustice as all Palestinians leading to a high number of Christians’ migration.” Areej said. Then she spoke about the meaning of Hope, quoting: “Hope is the capacity to see God in the midst of trouble.” Rev. Dr. Yohanna Katanacho – Bethlehem Bible College.

“God did his part, the ball is in the court of humankind that transformed faithful are to engage the word challenge the monopoly of power and live the life of an already liberated people.” Rev.Mitri Raheb, President, Dar al-Kalima (The House of the Word) University College in Bethlehem. Areej asked the audience to spread the word by telling people to come to meet Christian Palestinians, to learn and to share their stories.

Areej’s presentation was followed up with a Question and Answer period where the session went smoother and followed by dinner. Nell Potter, Artist, and Manager at Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network (PIEN) spoke about the painful situation of Palestine which she visited recently. She also gave a brief talk about PIEN’s mission, aims, and goals and made a specific announcement about the available various informational flyers to be handed out to Australian people, and urged the audience to read them and to distribute them to others. For those flyers are designed and intended to raise the general awareness of the Palestinian cause and to get the word out.

On Saturday night 27 October 2018, it was wonderful to see Areej again when she gave her last presentation on her PIEN speaker tour at Balmain Uniting Church where Pastor Stewart Mills hosted the event, and Palestinian food was served.

It is worth mentioning here that all the audience were Australians, and a few Australian Palestinian people; including Dr.  Mahmoud Abu Arab and his family, Suzan Wahhab and her family. The attendees were involved in the discussion showing full support and empathy with the Palestinian people, promising to help them and wishing them peace with justice.

It is fitting to pay tribute here to the wonderful work done by both the members of PIEN network in Australia and the visiting speaker from Palestine, Areej Masoud, as she proved to be a young Palestinian woman who speaks courageously and tactfully. Areej traveled to many parts of the world and Australia and talked about the story of her occupied Palestine. Her conversation was very impressive as she touched so many people’s hearts and minds. Congratulations to the Palestinian struggler young woman Areej, and thanks for her invaluable efforts, which will always be a guiding light in the hearts of Australians.