FECCA Executive Committee
Joe was elected Chairperson of the Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia (FECCA) on 7 November 2013. Joe has been involved in advocacy for the rights of minorities throughout all of his adult life. During the 1970s and 80s he was involved in promoting the rights of migrant workers. From 2001 to 2011 Joe was a member of the Victorian Multicultural Commission. Joe has also served as Councillor and Mayor in the former City of Brunswick and as Councillor and Mayor in the City of Moreland. Joe is an expert in Industrial Relations and holds a Master of Business from RMIT. Prior to becoming FECCA Chairperson, Joe served as Chair of the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV) between 2011-2013. Joe is still serving as a member of the Executive of the ECCV in the capacity of immediate past Chair.
Eugenia has over twenty-five years of experience in the ethnic and multicultural field at the Community, Commonwealth and Local Government levels. Eugenia is a member of a range of Boards and Advisory Committees including Vice President of Australian Greek Welfare Society, Chairperson of the Victorian Local Government Multicultural Issues Network, member of the SBS Community Advisory Committee and of the Board of the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria. Eugenia currently holds the position of Social Policy and Program Coordinator with Monash City Council.
Tina's involvement in multicultural and ethnic affairs extends over a 30 year period. A community development worker with the first MRC in South Australia, she went on to occupy senior management roles across the government, non-government and community sectors including Regional Coordinator of the Office of Multicultural Affairs in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Tina has contributed to the development of key services and programs for CALD communities in SA and has advocated strongly for the advancement of Multiculturalism as a policy for all Australians. She has extensive experience in Access & Equity reform and currently holds the position of Senior Program Manager, Service Development, with Ethnic Link Services at Uniting Care Wesley Port Adelaide.
Parsuram Sharma-Luital JP is a former refugee from Bhutan, arrived Australia in 2002. He obtained a Master of Horticulture from the Melbourne University and currently studying Master of Public Policy at RMIT University. He is the FECCA Hon Secretary, member of the Board of Directors of the Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria (ECCV) and Convenor of the New and Emerging Communities Policy Committee at ECCV. Parsu has served as NEC Chair from 2011 to 2015. Parsu has been elected as Chair of Statelessness Working Group of Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APPRN) in September 2014 in Bangkok. Parsu has represented Australian refugee communities in the UNHCR NGO Consultations for last five years and UNHCR Standing Committee meetings for two years in Geneva. Parsu volunteers as White Ribbon Ambassador; Welcome to Australia Ambassador; AFL Multicultural Community Ambassador & President of Rotary Club of Coburg for 2015-16.
Associated with the Ethnic Communities’ Council of NSW, Mr Panwala was a Human Rights Activist, Development Consultant, Legal Trainer and practicing lawyer in the High Court of Gujarat, India, before migrating to Australia in 2002. Currently associated with Ethnic Community Organisations in Sydney such as Indian Australian Arts and Film Association, founding member of the Indian Association for Citizen Rights, Member of Gujarati Samaj - NSW, Sydwest Multicultural Services – Blacktown, and provides Pro Bono legal advice to new and emerging communities in Western Sydney. Mr Panwala is a professional Interpreter & translator who has his own interpreting and translation company (UIT). He works with a law firm in Blacktown as a legal professional.
Pino has over 30 years involvement with and expertise in immigration and multicultural community affairs, including welfare, the arts and the Italian community. Professionally, Pino is the Managing Director of the Cultural Perspectives Group which includes Cultural Perspectives, CIRCA Research and DiverseWerks.
Mithun has been actively involved with the multicultural community since his early years in Australia and currently serves on board of many community groups. Born in India and having spent all his schooling years in the UAE before coming to Australia, he is an ambassador for multiculturalism. He was a member of the Ministerial Advisory Council for Multicultural Affairs (MACMA) in 2003-05 and has served as the young FECCA chair from 2005-07. At the National Multicultural Festival 2013, he was honoured by the Indian community with an achievement award for his "Outstanding Community work", in recognition of his tireless contributions to the community. Mithun has also held key positions in various universities, served on the ANU Academic Board and government consultative bodies in the ACT region. He played an active role in developing many postgraduate programmes during the tenure as the PARSA student president at ANU in 2003. He was one of the international student ambassadors in 2004 and was instrumental in enriching the student experience in Canberra. With a strong passion to serve, Mithun also volunteers at a local radio station in Canberra while professionally he is working as a Project Manager.
Peter Doukas has been Chair of ECCNSW since 2013. Before being elected Chair he served as secretary for two terms and was in that role while the organisation undertook its largest change to its constitution since its incorporation. He has worked in the Greek community for over ten years as a member of the Board of the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW. Peter is the Managing Partner of law firm Denison Toyer based in Sydney and has a strong commitment for promoting Australia as a pluralistic, just and open society through the success of multiculturalism.
Kevin Kadirgamar is the President of the Multicultural Council of the Northern Territory (MCNT). Having lived in the Northern Territory since 2003, he has been involved in a number of youth and community initiatives. He is a co-founder and former Chair of Multicultural Youth NT (MyNT), and has served on a number of boards including the Australian Youth Forum, NT Council for Human Rights Education, Australia Day Council, and the Youth Justice Advisory Council. He was named People of Australia Ambassador for the Australian Multicultural Council in 2012 and 2013, and as Australian Young Lawyer of the Year 2015 by the Law Council of Australia. Kevin co-founded and chairs the Migration Institute of Australia’s NT Chapter and the Junior Lawyers Network of Lawyers Associated Worldwide, an international network of lawyers in mid-tier law firms. By profession, Kevin is a Senior Lawyer at one of NT’s leading law firms, Ward Keller, where he practices in migration law. Kevin is dedicated to ensuring that Australians of all backgrounds, genders and ages are embraced with a true sense of belonging and are empowered to participate fully in all aspects of our multicultural society.
Miriam L. T. Cocking has over 30 years’ experience working and volunteering in the community sector. She is currently the Team Leader of Access and Equity Team with Seniors Information Service and sits on various Boards/Committees. Her ongoing service to the SA Community is spiced with challenges to overcome barriers in meeting the needs of CALD communities in the areas of settlement, housing, education, carer’s needs, aged care, health, employment, mental health and women’s issues including domestic violence and overseas qualification. She also has experience in the following areas: leadership, mentoring, networking, facilitation, needs analysis and developing practical workable programs. She is committed to providing communities with a united voice and passionate about appropriate representation.
Eddie is current Chairperson of Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV), the peak policy and advocacy body representing diverse multicultural communities in Victoria. Prior to serving as Chair of ECCV, Eddie served for two years as the Chairperson of ECCV’s Drugs Task Force and Convenor of ECCV’s Health Policy Sub-committee. He actively participates in other ECCV internal committees and is an active member on many external committees representing ECCV, such as the Health Services Review Council (Ministerial appointment), Board of Hepatitis Victoria and Australian Drug Foundation Advisory committee. He served in the Victorian Parliament from March 1983 to September 1999 during which he held numerous responsibilities covering Health, Industrial Relations, Work Cover and Multicultural Affairs. Eddie has a background in Occupational Health, with more than 30 years’ experience in Community Health, where he supported policy and programs enabling culturally diverse communities to respond to the drug and alcohol challenge. He is currently a Director at Inner South Community Health Service.
Ramdas Sankaran OAM is a professional social worker with 35+ year’s senior managerial experience within Commonwealth & State public services and the community service sector in Australia. Since 2001 he has been the Executive Director of the Multicultural Services centre of WA. He has extensive experience in public policy development, research, evaluation, advocacy, lobbying and planning, and implementing a range of programs and services. Ramdas has previously served 8 years as President of ECCWA and as Deputy Chair of FECCA in that capacity. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Management and the Australian Association of Social Workers.
Jafar Taheri is the Acting Chair of the Multicultural Council of Tasmania. Jafar previously studied and worked in the field of Economic Geology in the USA and in Australia, a field he worked in for over thirty years. Upon retiring from geology, Jafar completed a degree in counselling and worked as a Lifeline counsellor and crisis support worker for 13 years. Jafar is the former President of the Iranian Australian Community Association of Southern Tasmania and is still involved with the group as a representative. He has extensive experience working with people from culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse backgrounds through his work as a counsellor and with the Multicultural Council of Tasmania.
Passionate about social change and the restoration of strong moral values that founded our society, Alphonse Toussaint Mulumba is a Congolese born Australian community organiser and activist. He has previously served as Chair of the Tasmanian African Youth Association and Public Relations Officer of the African Communities Council of Tasmania. Alphonse's work revolves around giving a chance to the underprivileged, advocating for people in forgotten corners of the world and building capacity within the Tasmanian Community. Alphonse is the President of Congo Life Foundation, a non-for-profit organisation that works in partnership with other structures, to meet educational and welfare needs of young Congolese in a remote village of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Alphonse's remarkable leadership skills drove (and still driving) him to different leaders' gatherings both nationally and internationally. Recipient of different awards, he is seen as a community role model to many. He is a great motivational and public speaker who uses his inspirational eloquence to advocate for the poor, condemn social injustice and positively represents his State (Tasmania) wherever he goes. Alphonse holds a Master Degree in Public Policy at the University of Tasmania and is a PhD candidate in Social Sciences at the same institution.
Mohammad Al-khafaji is the FECCA Youth Chair. Born in Iraq, he came to Australia via Syria in 2003. Mohammad came as a refugee, with his family through UNHCR, when he was 13. He is passionate about changing the national conversation around asylum seekers to a positive one through education and grass roots movements. He is the new CEO of Welcome to Australia, an organisation dedicated to welcoming Australia's new arrivals, no matter where they came from or how they got here. Mohammad is on the board of management of Multicultural Youth of SA (MYSA), and volunteers for a number of youth organisations. He is dedicated to creating a welcoming Australia and is committed to giving new arrivals the same welcome he received when he arrived in 2003.
Hina Durrani is the FECCA Women’s Chair. She was born in Pakistan and came to Australia as an international student to study a Master of Professional Accounting Specialisation. She has previously studied a Master of Public Administration. Hina believes strongly in engaging women and children with higher education. She developed a passion for women’s rights when working with UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). Her priority is improving the educational opportunities for women and children.
Suzanne Graham is the CEO of Multicultural Community Council GC Ltd & CURA Community Services. Her career has been dedicated to business development and strategic growth in the Not for Profit Community and Health Care Environments, with a fully developed understanding of aged and disability reform agenda. Suzanne provides strategic leadership from a committed values based ethos. Developing innovative high quality programs, regional service expansion and relationship development with key stakeholders, Suzanne provides positive outcomes for the organisations she leads. Suzanne believes access and equity continues to be an area that requires advocacy and commitment by all Australians, and is seeking to continue developing and expanding services and support for multicultural communities throughout regional Australia.
Victor Marillanca JP was born in Batuco, Chile on 18 May 1954. As a student at the State Technical University of Santiago, he participated in politics while under the Government of Salvador Allende. Victor settled in Canberra and in 1976 joined the Commonwealth Public Service (retiring in 2009 after 32 years’ service). In 1976 he also started the Spanish language radio program on Community Radio 2XX Canberra, which was launched by the late Hon Al Grassby when he was the Australian Commissioner for Community Relations. Victor is currently the vice President of Ethnic Disability ACT, Executive Member and Convenor for Community Relations of the Canberra Multicultural Community Forum, Board Member of Community Radio 2XX, Chair of the Ethnic Standing Committee for Community Radio 2XX and President of the Community Ethnic Broadcasters Association of the ACT. Throughout his work as a community activist, a volunteer and a public servant, Victor has sought to enhance harmonious relations among all people and improve social justice issues for those in need.
Mary Patetsos is a professional Board Director, serving on both National and South Australian Boards with a rare blend of academic qualifications and expertise. Her skills and experience combined with an extensive national network enable her to add significant value to organisations at many levels. In particular, her commitment to achieve positive experiences for people drives her ambition. She contends that a strong belief in the worthiness of learning and work have become her key motivators. Mary is FECCA's Healthy Ageing Chair.
Emma has hands-on experience of the humanitarian sector, high-level business and academia. She brings to FECCA in-depth knowledge of migration, refugees, multicultural affairs, international and domestic politics and migrant health.
Emma previously worked with the international medical charity, Médecins sans Frontières in Africa and the Middle East on various projects including those focused on HIV/TB, refugees, armed conflict and Ebola. Her other previous roles include Postdoctoral Fellow at the Australian National University’s Korea Institute; Adviser to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition; senior management positions at the Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific Airways; and Researcher at the North Korea Database Centre, a Seoul-based NGO specialising in North Korean human rights and the welfare of North Korean refugees living in South Korea.
Emma has worked or lived in more than 10 countries and territories including Lebanon, Sierra Leone, South Korea, China, India, Swaziland, Turkey and Hong Kong. She speaks Chinese and Korean and has an extensive understanding of issues faced by Australia’s diverse and multicultural communities.
Dr Campbell holds a Bachelors of Law and Chinese from the University of Leeds and a Master’s degree in Political Science from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She has a PhD in Political and Social Change from the Australian National University. Emma has published widely on a range of topics including Korean unification, security, migration and humanitarian assistance. Her book A New Nationalism in South Korea: The End of “One Korea”? was published this year by Lynne Rienner Publishers.
Emma grew up in a very culturally diverse community in the Northeast of England and her career has taken her to different places around the world, often to work with people in challenging circumstances. Emma firmly believe in the benefits for all of an inclusive and harmonious multicultural Australia.
Cristina Giusti is of Italian background and grew up in Australia where assimilation was a key social policy of the time. Cristina understands first-hand the importance of an inclusive multicultural society where cultural diversity is celebrated and accepted.
Cristina is an aged care professional who has in the last few years been working in various areas of aged care; including policy, advocacy, training and business development, particularly concerning culturally and linguistically diverse communities. She has throughout her time in aged care worked with various CALD ageing communities to inform them of the age care reforms.
Recently, Cristina managed a large community aged care business where she was responsible for leading over 60 staff comprising clinicians, allied health professionals, case managers and carers. Cristina has also had experience in training aged care and health professional staff in the cultural perspectives of ageing.
Cristina has introduced new funded initiatives in ‘for purpose’ organisations. Prior to her experience in aged care, Cristina had a long career in allied health, specifically, Optometry practice and Eye Health consulting.
Cristina holds a Bachelor of International Studies (Dean’s Scholar) with Distinction. She is currently working towards her Master of Public Health. She also holds qualifications in Project Management, Board Governance, Training and Assessment, Ophthalmic Optics and Medical Terminology.
Cristina has a special interest in the history of World War 1. She has toured and presented on the Gallipoli Peninsula and the Western Front in Belgium and France. She represented The University of Wollongong at a ceremony at the Menin Gate in Belgium.
Cristina holds an executive position on the committee of the Dante Alighieri Society and is fluent in the Italian language.
Benjamin is a former practicing solicitor with experience in the fields of family, criminal and administrative law. During his time in practice Benjamin worked with a number of clients from culturally and linguistically diverse communities and gained a unique insight into many of the issues impacting those communities. Prior to beginning legal practice Benjamin was employed as the Student’s Advocate at a major university working with international students and domestic students from a broad range of backgrounds.
Benjamin also has substantial experience engaging with the law reform process, with particular interest in police integrity, counter-terrorism and how ethnicity, faith and culture intersect with those issues. Contributing to inquiries into, among many others, the systemic incidence of racial profiling within Victoria Police, the use of technology in intimate communications and the extension of law enforcement and integrity body powers, Benjamin has extensive knowledge of the committee and consultative processes at a Commonwealth level.
Benjamin has consulted with organisations such as Civil Liberties Australia, the Australian Federal Police and the Ted Noffs Foundation. Benjamin founded and led the Police Integrity Project a research initiative of the Law Reform and Social Justice Program of the Australian National University College of Law.
Benjamin graduated LLB (hons) from the ANU College of Law and received Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law in New South Wales.
Benjamin remains committed to the principles of justice, fairness and equity.
Alia Imtoual is of Libyan Arab and Anglo Australian background. She has a long career working in diverse communities particularly Muslim communities, Spanish speaking communities, and Indigenous communities. She recently returned to Australia after almost seven years living and working in Chile and Mexico along with her Mexican husband and their two young children. She speaks Spanish (Chilean and Mexican dialects) and taught English as a Foreign Language to business people and professionals throughout Latin America.
Alia holds a First Class Honours in Education (BEd (UP/LS)) from Flinders University and a PhD in Social Science (Gender Studies) from Adelaide University. She worked as a lecturer in the School of Education at Flinders University where she developed a strong research profile in the areas of gender, race and religious minority communities.
She published in rigorously peer-reviewed national and international academic journals such as Australian Feminist Studies, Educational Studies, Australian Journal of Early Childhood and Contemporary Islam. Alia is the co-editor of an international collection of essays titled Religion, Spirituality and the Social Sciences.
Dr Imtoual participated in two cultural exchanges (Malaysia and Indonesia) sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Australia-Malaysia Institute and the Australia-Indonesia Institute. The purpose of these visits was to build cross cultural understanding and relations at a non-governmental level. She sat on the Board of the South Australian Women’s Resource Centre and the Board of the Australia-Malaysia Institute. She has 15 years experience volunteering with migrants and refugees on a range of key issues relating to employment, access to housing, and adjusting to new cultural norms and social contexts.
Janecke has extensive experience in issues relating to multiculturalism, settlement and the work of civil society. She is a doctor in Sociology from the Australian National University (ANU). The focus of her research was the settlement experiences of the South Sudanese community in Canberra, Australia. Looking at personal understandings of belonging and recognition, Janecke presented an intimate and insightful thesis addressing people’s own experiences of settling in Australia.
Previously, Janecke has worked with the NGO Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) in her home country of Norway. Here she was a research coordinator for the Landmine Monitor, an annual report addressing the landmine problem in the world and published by the
International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). In her work with the ICBL, Janecke gained extensive experience in working with both government officials and the international civil society in lobbying and promoting for a humanitarian focus of mine clearance operations as well as keeping track of treaty obligations and implementations among signatories to the Mine Ban Convention.
Janecke has broad experience in conducting research in small and predominantly African communities. Her Master’s research focused on communities living with the presence of landmines in the northern areas of Angola in southern Africa. She has also spent time in Angola working as a volunteer on a health project focusing on malaria prevention and access to clean water.
Beverley has worked primarily in not-for-profit organisations since immigrating to Australia in 2000. Her background includes working in job placement, aged care, education and educational tourism. Prior to joining FECCA, Beverley worked for a local organisation whose focus was on training, upskilling and social inclusion of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.