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NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has presented the state’s most prestigious multicultural award to a Canterbury-Bankstown Councillor.
Clr Bilal El-Hayek was awarded the Stepan Kerkyasharian AO Medal, at a ceremony in Sydney overnight, for his contribution to promoting social cohesion, understanding and acceptance of different cultures and faiths in communities.
Clr El-Hayek has worked in Canterbury-Bankstown for 10 years, the last five as a youth coordinator at Police & Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) Bankstown. He has helped deliver the Bankstown Connect Family Program, which links newly arrived families to the local area, to support networks.
The White Ribbon Day Ambassador, was also instrumental in facilitating the year-long leadership program, Blue Crescent, which helped male youth to become actively involved in the community.
In addition, he was also one of the driving forces behind the WISE UP Project, which helped improve social skills and educational engagement for disengaged youth.
"I’m humbled to have been acknowledged for my community work, but it couldn’t have been done without many other passionate and caring people supporting me," Clr Hayek said.
"It’s very important to me that I continue to promote harmony, peace, tolerance and inclusiveness in our City, so all our residents, new, young or old, feel safe and at home."
Clr El-Hayek encouraged the community to live every day like it was Harmony Day.
"It doesn’t take much effort to get to know and accept each other’s interesting backgrounds," Clr El-Hayek said.
"All you have to do is practically look next door and you’ll find a rich tapestry of culture and heritage that is alive in our City."
Mayor Khal Asfour praised Clr El-Hayek for his charitable efforts in making one of the state’s most multicultural cities more inclusive and involved.
"Clr El-Hayek is a selfless individual who is an inspiration to many," Mayor Asfour said.
"This award is a testament to his hard work and I congratulate him on his unconditional dedication in making Canterbury-Bankstown a better place to live in, work in and enjoy."
Clr El-Hayek was presented with the medal at the Premier’s annual Harmony Dinner at Rosehill Racecourse.
22/03/2018 10:16 AM