Archive for the ‘Chic Humanity’ Category

Debate Finds Racism is Holding Australia Back

At Diversity Council Australia’s Annual Diversity Debate, sponsored by PwC and ANZ and held in Sydney, the audience heard lively discussion on the topic of whether racism is holding Australia back.

A final vote of the audience of business and HR executives found that racism is holding Australia back, with MC Tony Jones awarding the debate to the affirmative by 71% to 29%, despite a swing of 9% to the negative team during the debate.

A clear consensus emerged amongst panellists that more needs to be done to address racism, said Nareen Young, DCA’s CEO:

“All panellists agreed that racism is a problem that exists and must be tackled, although they disagreed on the extent to which it affects Australian workplaces and the wider community,” said Nareen.

The arguments supporting the case that racism is holding Australia back centred on the harmful impacts of racism – not only on the individual but on business, communities, social cohesion and Aboriginal Australians in particular.

Leading the affirmative team, Race Discrimination Commissioner, Helen Szoke said racism is a major roadblock: “This is evident on a number of counts. Structural or systemic racism not only has costs to businesses and communities but also is lost opportunity costs in an economic and social sense,” said Helen.

In contrast, the negative side argued that Australia compares favourably with other countries in terms of the relative harmony between diverse cultures and communities, and if racism was really holding the country back there would be much more conflict evident.

Leading the negative team, Past President of the Federation of Australian Indian Associations, Vish Viswanathan, said:

“Australia is not a racist country at all, although a few people with racist attitude may exist as in any other country. The fast growing multicultural community in Australia is a result of its largest per capita immigration program within any OECD country. In contrast to many countries where racial strifes affect even the normal day-to-day life, the diverse and multicultural community in Australia is enjoying the spirit of ‘mateship’, cultural harmony and a sense of inclusiveness, thus making Australia a great place to live in the world,” said Vish.

The debate confirmed the need for a greater understanding and focus on cultural diversity at the most senior levels of Australian business. To this end, DCA announced at the debate a new research project in partnership with PwC, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and ANZ, with the support of IBM. Called Capitalising On Culture Amongst Australian Leaders: An ASX200 Survey, the research  will for the first time capture the culturally diverse profile and intercultural capabilities at board and senior executive levels of ASX200 companies, as a first step to moving forward in this critical area. For more information on the research, visit

The debate panel included:

For the affirmative – racism is holding Australia back:


  • Helen Szoke, Race Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission
  • Jason Glanville, CEO, National Centre of Indigenous Excellence
  • Silma Ihram, Project Manager, the Australian Muslim Women’s Association.

For the negative – racism is not holding Australia back:


  • Joe Hildebrand, Journalist, Daily Telegraph and host of ABC2’s series Dumb, Drunk and Racist
  • Sophie Crawford-Jones, Strategic Sales & Marketing, PwC

Vish Viswanathan, Past President of the Federation of Australian Indian Associations.



Sekai Holland to give the City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s support for Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, and Mr Tsvangiriai’s unwavering commitment to reconciliation for his people are optimistic signs for the future Zimbabwe. According to Mr Tsvangiriai, the Australian government’s possible lifting of sanctions would also be helpful, even if controversial.

On an official visit to Australia, Mr Tsvangirai’s says he cannot afford to “look back and be acrimonious”.

Professor Stuart Rees, Chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation, who attended Monday’s private lunch at Parliament House for the Zimbabwean Prime Minister, comments,

“The Australian Prime Minister’s support for democracy and human rights was an invaluable recognition of the courage shown by members of the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe by cooperating with President Mugabe. Making peace with your enemies is much more significant than being in solidarity with your friends”.

The Sydney Peace Foundation is giving specific support to reconciliation in Zimbabwe in its choice of Co-Minister for Reconciliation, Healing and Integration, Zimbabwean Senator Sekai Holland, as the 2012 recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize.

During Monday’s lunch Prime Minister Gillard praised Mr Tsvangirai as “a hero”, placing him among the ranks of other leaders who’ve made a difference in human rights over the decades. Rees says, “If Morgan Tsvangirai is a hero, then Sekai Holland is a heroine – they have both suffered torture, have both shown enormous courage and they are both working with their former enemies to achieve a more just future for Zimbabwe”.

Senator Sekai Holland was announced as the 2012 Sydney Peace Prize recipient in May this year at a reception in Harare, Zimbabwe, hosted by the Australian Ambassador to Zimbabwe and attended by Mr Tsvangirai.

Senator Holland will give the City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture in Sydney’s Town Hall on November 7 and will receive the Sydney Peace Prize at a Gala Dinner on November 8th.

Hilton Sydney Supports Earth Hour 2012

Hilton Sydney Observes Earth Hour 2012 in Support of Energy Conservation

Hilton Sydney plans to mark Earth Hour 2012 from 8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. local time on Saturday, March 31, 2012 as people and organisations around the world turn off their lights in support of action on global climate change. Hilton Sydney and many of the more than 3,800 hotels that are part of the Hilton Worldwide portfolio of brands are expected to take part in the event that will mobilize more than one billion people worldwide.

Furthermore Hilton Sydney has also made an Earth Hour pledge to go beyond the hour and offset the carbon emissions from every occupied guest room for the night of March 31. While Hilton Sydney already offsets carbon emissions from all meetings and events held at the hotel, this will be a first for guest rooms.

This significant pledge signals the beginning of a new monthly commitment to offset carbon emissions from Hilton Sydney guest rooms one night per month for the remainder of the year. Michael Bourne, general manager, Hilton Sydney, said, “Supported by the ongoing commitment of management and all team members, Hilton Sydney is an environmental champion in the industry.

“In 2011, we reduced electricity usage by 7 per cent, gas by 3.5 per cent, water by 3.5 per cent and recycled 84 per cent of all waste. Carbon offsetting from meetings and events resulted in a 6.6 per cent offset of total energy use, equating to 1,500 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Our commitment to offset carbon emissions from our rooms one day a month for the rest of the year only highlights our promise to go beyond the hour for Earth Hour 2012.

“We are proud to once again be supporting a fantastic global initiative that encourages each and every one of us to be mindful of our environmental footprint.”

The hotel’s signature event will be ‘Earth Hour Unplugged’; a free, acoustic gig at iconic live music-hub, Marble Bar with Melbourne’s coolest rock and roll sextet, The Hello Morning. Heading to Sydney especially to play the one-night only acoustic set during Earth Hour, 8.30pm – 9.30pm, the candlelit gig is set to be unmissable and a spotlight Sydney event for Earth Hour 2012.

Those lucky enough to secure their spot in the bar for ‘Earth Hour Unplugged’ will be asked to make their own Earth Hour pledge via the Marble Bar Facebook page on the night, with The Hello Morning picking their favourites from the crowd and making their own pledges on the night too.

Around the hotel, Hilton Sydney will turn off the external logo and signage and lighting in guest areas throughout the hotel, including the executive lounge, will be switched off and/or dimmed to a minimum during Earth Hour. All guests will be encouraged to participate on the night within their own rooms and joining in with special events in the hotel.

A stunning candle-lit dinner will be held in Luke Mangan’s glass brasserie, delightfully complimented by specifically selected sustainable wine options, courtesy of Group Sommelier, Kim Bickley.

An abundance of candlelight will create a mesmerising atmosphere in the lobby and Caffe Cino, complimented by a series of acoustic musical performances from local emerging Sydney artists throughout the evening, including the hotel’s very own employee, Nicole Duschene who will entertain guests with her smooth, soulful voice.

Duschene, coordinator, Hilton Meetings is from a musical background with both her father and brother performing on a regularbasis. She said, “Earth Hour is a superb initiative and I am so proud to be involved. It is a great opportunity to give something back to Hilton Sydney and also to the environment, whilst being a fantastic platform to showcase my talent. I’m excited to be able to work with a close guitarist friend of mine to bring a little bit of neo-soul and jazz to the Hilton Sydney lobby on the March 31.”

In 2012, Hilton Sydney will be one of the first hotels in Sydney to compost all of its organic waste on site and will continue an LED bulb replacement program in public areas and event space within the hotel, saving 80 per cent equivalent energy.



Shangri-La Hotel Sydney Embraces Earth Hour 2012

Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney prepares to showcase its ongoing commitment to sustainability for Earth Hour on Saturday 31 March 2012.
In the area of environmental sustainability, Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney’s focus is primarily in five areas: climate change, ozone depletion, water use management, waste disposal management and indoor air quality. The hotel practices a wide array of environmentally friendly measures including fitting all guestrooms with water-saving devices in taps and showers as well as using energy-saving lamps and, during the refurbishment in 2011, installing sensor air conditioning and lighting in more than three-quarters of the hotel’s guestrooms.
From 8:30 p.m. on Saturday 31 March 2012, the main lighting in public areas at Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney will be turned off, and the hotel will remain on minimal lighting for one hour.  Guests will be encouraged to participate by switching off the lighting and any power in their guestrooms and suites.

Guests looking to experience dinner by candlelight with views over Sydney Harbour will enjoy Altitude Restaurant’s Earth Hour Dinner.  Executive Chef Steven Krasicki will offer two menus utilising locally sourced produce with matching organic and biodynamic wines.  All menus will be printed on 100 per cent recycled paper stock, and beeswax candles, certified carbon neutral, will be used to light the restaurant.
Altitude’s Earth Hour Dinner will offer two sittings.  The first sitting will be a five course tasting menu for A$140, or A$195 with matching wines.  The second sitting will be a seven-course tasting menu priced at A$160, or A$235 with matching wines.
For bookings, please contact restaurant reservations on (61 2) 9250 6123, e-mail or visit

Six Senses Hosted First Annual “Water/Wo/Men” Fundraiser Event- Maldives

Six Senses, the resort industry leader in sustainable development, in partnership with +H2O, hosted the first Six Senses Water/Wo/Men event between 30th September and 4th October at its Six Senses Laamu resort in the Maldives. +H20 is a platform for water awareness that brings together a community of athletes, conservationists, non-profits and corporations to create purposeful solutions that facilitate positive change on a local to global scale.
Proceeds from this event will be donated to three key marine charities: Water Charity, Plant a Fish and Blue Marine Foundation. Blue Marine Foundation will place the proceeds from this event into the Baa Atoll Conservation Fund to manage the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Sir Richard Branson and Sonu Shivdasani

Water/Wo/Men, from iconic surfers Bethany Hamilton and Layne Beachley, Buzzy Kerbox , Tripoli Patterson, Terry Simms to windsurfers Jake Miller, Levi Siver, Keith Teboul and Pascal Bronnimann, kite surfers Mark Shinn and Alex Caizergues, free diver Anna von Boetticher and extreme wakeboarder Duncan Zuur offered water sports clinics to Six Senses Laamu guests throughout the week as well as impressing guests with an adrenalin pumping ‘water sports show’ surfing and wakeboarding over the famous ‘Yin Yang’ wave a short boat ride away.

Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Group, at Soneva Fushi International Airport.

Conservationists lead engaging dialogues, workshops and debates on the most pressing marine and drinking water issues facing our planet today, examples included “Giving the Oceans A Voice” moderated by recognized biologist and oceanographer Dr. Callum Roberts and featuring National Geographic Explorer Jon Bowermaster and Fabien Cousteau, the aquatic filmmaker and Founder of Plant A Fish; “Marine Reserves: A Panacea For the Ocean?” with Mitali Kakkar, Indian marine conservationist and featuring Carl Gustaf Lundin, Director of Global Marine Programme, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Chris Gorell Barnes, Executive Producer of End of the Line; “Water as a Human Right” Dr. Jacqueline Chan and Averill Strasser, co-founders of Water Charity.

Soneva Fushi sandbank

Guests were entertained by impromptu performances by Beth Orton, Daryl Hannah and Rami Jaffee during the week at Chill bar and a memorable sunset beach jam involving Maldivian musicians on local drums at the finale ‘Barefoot Ball’ evening. Nightly open-air screenings at Cinema Paradiso on the beach were accompanied with bowls of ice cream chosen from the 50 flavours on offer at the ice cream parlour, movies shown included ‘The End of the Line’ and a surprise screening of Soul Surfer introduced by Bethany Hamilton.Chefs kept everyone sustained with ethically sourced gourmet food enjoyed with sustainable wines from Australia’s Margaret River region. Winemakers from this region hosted a gourmet wine tasting dinner on the beach whilst Fabien Cousteau, Daryl Hannah, Helena Christensen and Kate Bosworth enjoyed a Zero Carbon dinner at LEAF.

Daryl Hannah, Actor and Environmentalist and Rami Jaffee, Musician, Foo Fighters

This timely gathering took place at the new Six Senses Laamu, the only resort in remote Laamu Atoll, 150 km north of the equator and famed for its ultrafine soft sand. Laamu’s ninety-seven responsibly luxurious villas sit back on the beach nestled among the lush indigenous vegetation or over the clear turquoise lagoon. Each offers complete privacy along with Six Senses signature creature comforts. Using local, sustainable materials allowed Six Senses to make only the lightest footprint on this otherwise untouched paradise.Word has already spread around the world, luring passionate legends and world leaders in conservation to become Six Senses Water/Wo/Men.

Soneva Fushi sandbank

Nelson Mandela Exhibit ‘Take Action! Inspire Change’ Opens at United Nations Headquarters

For 67 years, Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity — as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa. This year on 18 July — Nelson Mandela’s ninety-third birthday — the United Nations is joining the call by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to ask everyone, everywhere to devote just 67 minutes of their time to helping others, as a way to mark Nelson Mandela International Day. An interactive exhibition, entitled “Take Action! Inspire Change”, opened to the public on Tuesday, 12 July, in the Main Gallery of the Visitors’ Lobby.  The exhibit is an initiative of the United Nations Department of Public Information to highlight this call to action in honour of Mr. Mandela’s service to humanity.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan (right) meets with former South African President Nelson Mandela in Houghton, Johannesburg, South Africa. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (left), President of South Africa, enters General Assembly Hall to address its fifty-third session. He is flanked by United Nations Chief of Protocol, Nadia Younes.UN Photo/Evan Schneider

The exhibit provides the visitor with unique insight into the work and legacy of Mr. Mandela, through audio presentations of interviews with key political figures at the time of Mr. Mandela’s release from prison in South Africa and during his presidency, as well as photo and video footage during that period and beyond.

Visitors are invited to make their own personal pledge to devote 67 minutes of their time to public service and “make every day a Mandela Day”.  Pledges and messages submitted via the exhibit will be forwarded to Mr. Mandela at the conclusion of the showing.

The Bridesman’s Last Legacy: The Blair Milan Fund

Blair Milan, a talented actor, much loved son and brother and incredible friend to many, died on Sunday, April 17 2011. Acute Myeloid Leukemia cut Blair’s joyful life short suddenly. His family has been overwhelmed with support, well wishes and messages of love. Blair’s family and friends have now teamed up with Charles Sturt University (CSU), Bathurst, to found The Blair Milan Fund.
High school girlfriend and long time best friend, Amelia Adams, currently a journalist for the Nine Network, is greatly moved to be part of the legacy that Blair leaves behind at CSU. A graduate herself in Journalism from CSU, she experienced Blair’s successes first hand attending all of Blair’s numerous theatre events and performances and witnessed his passion, enthusiasm and talent in all that he did. Blair graduated as a Bachelor of Arts (Communication -Theatre/Media) at CSU in Bathurst with Distinction.

“Blair loved Charles Sturt, and the Theatre/Media experience and community and he excelled in all subjects, events and shows. Blair’s greatest achievement was his performance in ‘Death’s Waiting Room’. I know first-hand how hard students work to make these shows a success on a shoestring budget”, explains Amelia.
When Amelia married her husband, Luke in 2008, Blair was “Chief Bridesman” as Blair called himself. He took his Bridesman duties incredibly seriously even carrying his own bouquet down the aisle. Blair also acted as MC, a highlight of the reception for all the guests.
Of the Blair Milan Fund, Amelia is truly proud of her best man, best friend and first love. “It is a true gift that Blair’s infectious enthusiasm, passion, talent, and love of the industry will now be a lasting legacy. This legacy, in Blair’s name, will continue to have an enormous impact on young people in the entertainment industry for years to come. In the same way Blair, in his short life, had such an enormous impact on so many.”

The Blair Milan Fund will comprise of two components:
Part One – The Blair Milan Scholarship
A scholarship of $3,000 will be awarded annually to a second year Theatre/Media student, who exemplifies the generous artistic spirit and attitude of Blair, while also aims to encouraging students studying Theatre/Media to demonstrate optimism, enthusiasm and a passion for their chosen field. The student will be carefully selected by the Theatre/Media staff, along with input from Blair’s family and peers.
Part Two – The Blair Milan Tour
A scholarship of $7,000 will also be awarded annually to assist a chosen production that will be selected by academic staff of the Theatre/Media course and with input from Blair’s family and peers. These funds will cover the costs of the production for students to perform before metropolitan and regional communities. Blair’s involvement in his final year with Death’s Waiting Room was one of the most significant roles in his career, and Blair’s family would like to provide other students with that same opportunity. Profits released from this presentation will be returned to the Blair Milan Touring Fund.
The objective is to raise over $100,000 so that the annual awards can be funded from the income of the Blair Milan Fund in perpetuity. Lyndey Milan and partner, John Caldon have undertaken to match dollar to dollar (up to $50,000), the amounts received during the initial fund raising in commemoration of the role played by Blair Milan in their Naked Flame production of Lyndey and Blair’s Taste of Greece, which is currently being shown on SBS.
The Blair Milan Fund will sit within the Theatre/Media Foundation of the Charles Sturt University. There are no additional administration costs with the creation of this new fund.
For more information and to download the donation form, visit –

Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy

Lights off Sydney for Earth Hour

Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Wildlife World, Sydney Tower and Oceanworld Manly will turn off their lights at 8.30pm on Saturday March 27, 2010 for one hour. Participating in the global Earth Hour initiative these four iconic Sydney attractions will join billions of others worldwide in switching off in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint.
Sydney Wildlife World featuring the largest collection of Australian native animals housed under one
roof, including a 5m crocodile named Rex, will be plunged into darkness. Sydney Aquarium will
remain open for business until 10.00pm with all non-essential lighting including the iconic rooftop
signage that lights up Darling Harbour, turned off for one hour.
The Sydney Tower is turning off as many lights as possible including all exterior lighting, the lights on
Skywalk and the AMP sign which can usually be seen from anywhere in the CBD and surrounding
suburbs. The restaurants will be open for business as usual but lit by candle light. Sydney Tower will
also provide one of the best vantage points in the city to see the full effect of the Earth Hour
phenomenon as it takes place throughout Sydney. A regular participant in Earth Hour, Oceanworld
Manly will also turn off all lighting.
Chris Warhurst Managing Director of Sydney Attractions Group said: “Earth Hour is a great initiative
and something we are proud to be a part off. Our attractions Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Wildlife World
Sydney Tower and Oceanworld Manly are committed to conservation; participating in Earth Hour is
one more way we can show our commitment to the environment and preserving this unique and
diverse planet.”
Internally the Sydney Aquarium Conservation Fund have sent out an e-card to engage all staff, with
tips to save energy, to save water, to reduce waste and for cleaner transport.

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