Award for Meritorious Service to the Community

The Award for Meritorious Service to the Community is one of 10 categories in Victoria’s Multicultural Awards for Excellence. The award recognises the outstanding achievements of groups or individuals who have enhanced multiculturalism in their community. ‘Meritorious’ means ‘deserving of praise’, and this award is a chance to praise and thank those who work tirelessly for others.

This award has two sub categories:

  • Volunteers (minimum of 10 years voluntary service)
  • Paid work

Selection Criteria

  • Involved with culturally and linguistically diverse communities in volunteer or paid roles
  • Actively participates in existing projects designed to improve services and/or relationships with culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse communities
  • Promotes multiculturalism and interculturalism; and improves relations within and across communities
  • Develops or enhances programs to assist Victoria’s multicultural community


  • Individuals and community groups
  • Self-nominations are not accepted

Nominations in all categories may also be considered for the Emerging Leadership in Multiculturalism Award and the Award for Meritorious Service to the Community.

2018 recipients



All Saints

For its effective engagement of youth local to the outer northern suburbs of Melbourne and their families through sporting and other activities that educate its members on interculturalism and interfaith understanding, gender equality and healthy lifestyles.Their motto is “victoria concordia crescit” or “victory through harmony”.


Australian Hazara Women’s Friendship Network

For its work towards integrating Hazara women into the wider Australian community through English literacy and life administration programs that aim to reduce women’s economic and social isolation.


Buddha’s Light International Association of Victoria

For its work towards creating a harmonious community through the promotion of intercultural and interfaith dialogue and understanding, and though the celebration of diversity.


Diversitat - Geelong EthnicCommunities Council

For its promotion of independence for older people by providing support and socialisation opportunities,including the delivery of an art project that brought together a group of Stolen Generation seniors with a group of refugee Karen and Karenni seniors.


Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services

For its work towards empowering people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to participate fully in Australian society through the delivery of a variety of community programs, art projects and events, including the Zinda Festival.


Multicultural Arts Victoria

For its leadership and commitment to the development and promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity in the arts, working with local emerging, refugee and Aboriginal artists and communities and various government and community sector organisations across metropolitan and regional Victoria.


South Asia Times

For its reporting of issues affecting Indian and South Asian communities, particularly in relation to domestic violence, crime prevention, and the promotion of community harmony, interfaith, sports and entertainment events.


Whittlesea Community Connections

For its initiatives to support disadvantaged people and emerging communities in Melbourne’s outer north.Projects are designed for communities, by communities,with staff and volunteers coming from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. Recent projects have addressed family violence, gender equity and responsible gambling.

Individuals - Paid Work


Ai Yun Liu

For founding the Chinese Culture School Australiain 1992, a language school which promotes Chinese culture, language and education to children of diverse backgrounds.


Aloke Kumar

For his contribution towards achieving intercultural understanding and community harmony and his fundraising efforts in response to the Nepalese earthquake in 2015.


Bassir Qadiri (award accepted by Mariam Qadiri, pictured)

For his work in delivering cultural awareness programs to both men and women in Afghan communities that promote gender equality, equity and the elimination of all types of violence against women.


Nagamuthu Ramalingam Wickiramasingham

For his leadership and dedicated service to Victoria’s multicultural community and work towards the preservation of Tamil culture, including the founding ofthe Victorian Tamil Cultural Association and Victorian Tamil Cultural School.


Yohana Jury

For her impactful work at the Centre for Multicultural Youth and City of Greater Dandenong, including the development of Victoria’s first LGBTIQ+ multicultural youth project, and the Creating Change project, which fosters meaningful connections between young people from diverse backgrounds.

Individuals - Voluntary


Bandu Dissanayake

For his extensive contributions to multicultural media as a founding member of the Ethnic Public Broadcasting Association of Victoria, his involvement in the establishment of the Sinhala program on 3ZZZ radio, and his work as a volunteer broadcaster, in print media and service to the community through charitable organisations.


Bom Yonzon

For his tireless promotion of Nepalese culture through various festivals and events in Victoria,and his contribution to engaging the Nepalese community with numerous local councils and community sector organisations.


Chandana Imbulana (award accepted by Pushpa Imbulana, pictured)

For his long-standing commitment to promoting social harmony, peace and intercultural understanding within the Sri Lankan community, other South Asian community groups and the wider community.


Christina Despoteris

For her leadership and dedication in engaging the community and promoting Greek culture through art, music, dance, historyand the delivery of various initiatives.


Deepti Alurkar

For founding the ‘Mums Dance Club’, aninitiative that educates, engages and empowersVictorian women, which in turn educates and empowers family and community.


Dilkie (Dilrukshie) Perera

For her leadership and dedication towards the promotion of Sri Lankan culture in Victoria, her work in uniting South Asian communities in business, cultural celebration and fundraising initiatives and support of multicultural youth.


Heidy Shiroma Vilasinie Linthotage Fernando

For her promotion and preservation of Sri Lankan culture in Victoria through radio broadcasting, and the production of musical concerts, television and radio drama programs, which have helped people stay connected to their heritage and reduced isolation, and her work towards health education in the community.


Leng Chaiwatanatorn

For promoting Chinese culture, music and religion, his dedicated service to seniors, including help finding nursing homes, transportation and life administration tasks and his support in the settlement of new migrants. 


Nalin Sharda

For his leadership and continued involvement in numerous community groups and creative initiatives, which have helped to preserve and share Indian culture and culturally and linguistically diverse literature, as well as helping seniors overcome isolation.


Naureen Choudhry

For her dedication to intercultural and interfaith understanding and work towards ensuring the voices of culturally and religiously diverse women and marginalised people are heard and community connection and harmony is strengthened.


Jazeer Nijamudeen

For co-founding the Muslim Legal Network and his commitment to multicultural youth affairs, including the organisation of sporting and social events for migrant youth in the Western suburbs, and providing mentoring and student housing assistance.


Nurten Kim Hasan

For her work as President of the Hampton Park Turkish Senior Citizens Group, through which she supports and advocates on behalf of seniors and brings together seniors from diverse cultural groups to practice English and help combat loneliness.


Puneet Gulati

For his work for various non-profit organisations and commitment to empowering diverse communities, with a strong focus on tackling violence, harassment and bullying.


Rohit Kumar

For his work as President of the Australian Indo Fijian Association of Victoria, which has supported communities both locally and overseas, with a particular focus on children with special needs.


Said A Said

For his dedication to the Somali community in Victoria through initiatives to reduce isolation amongst Elders, support young people through sport, and bring prominent Somali musicians and politicians to visit Australia.


Stephen Chew

For his widespread work towards promoting intercultural and interfaith harmony, including the implementation of several community and capacity building initiatives targeted at Chinese, other culturally and linguistically diverse communities and the wider community in Victoria.


Uma Vijai

For her work on community events to celebrate Hindu festivals, running multicultural music and dance activities for children with special needs, volunteering with her local council and fundraising for a range of causes.


Van Tu Tran

For his work as founder and Principal of THE-HE Vietnamese Language Centre, and his commitment to a new project to involve newly-arrived young people in the spirit of ANZAC Day.


Wendy Brown

For her valuable contributions as a member of Morwell’s International Women’s Group for the past 15 years, including providing free computer skills classes and helping fellow members with job applications and navigating government systems such as Centrelink.


Xiao Mei Zhou

For her many years of service as president of the Kensington Chinese Friendship group, where she organised activities for elderly Chinese public housing residents, encouraged their participation in community events and advocated for their interests.