By CASEY NEILL
THREE men from Greater Dandenong are peddling the multicultural message across the country, and in their own backyards.
Councillor Jim Memeti, Young Victorian of the Year and City of Greater Dandenong Young Citizen of the Year Victor Victor, and Australia’s first Afghan lifesaver, Imtiyaz ‘Minty’ Saberi, were announced as People of Australia Ambassadors at a Harmony Day ceremony at Parliament House, Canberra, on 21 March.
They are among 10 people from Victoria and 53 from around Australia acknowledged as inspirational people who’ve helped promote inclusion, strengthen ties and built their communities.
Cr Memeti, the former mayor, who came to Australia from Albania, and remains an active leader in the Albanian community.
“I’ve been living in Dandenong since I was two and I’m 40 now, so 38 years,” he said.
“I’ve seen a big change in Dandenong. It’s just grown and grown.
He operates several poultry stores in the Dandenong area and ran for council in 2005 because of his strong desire to improve public perceptions of Dandenong.
“I’ll just keep on passing the message that I love this place. It’s a great place to live,” he said.
“I’m excited. I take the job seriously and will do what I can to promote that all people should be one and support each other.”
Mr Saberi arrived in Australia by boat in 2005 and settled into the Dandenong community, unable to swim or speak English.
He now works tirelessly to promote aquatics programs to youths and new migrants, and volunteers much of his time as a lifesaver.
Mr Victor arrived in Australia from Sudan in 2003, aged 11, and is passionate about mentoring youth and supporting multicultural programs in Dandenong.
He’s involved with the Multi-Faith Multicultural Youth Network, volunteers as a tutor with African group SAIL, and mentors young people through Site Guide.
Isaacs MP Mark Dreyfus said the leaders would play a vital role in providing the government and Australian Multicultural Council with important grassroots information about life in multicultural Australia.
“One third of Australians were born overseas and Greater Dandenong is home to citizens representing 150 different nationalities,” he said.
“Our community is a wonderful example to others of a modern, diverse and harmonious society.”