Australia Day in Spring: Australian embassy works to bridge gap with Pakistan

As many as 12 alumni receiving the Australian Alumni Excellence Awards.

Our Correspondent April 12, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Australian High Commissioner Peter Heyward on Saturday hosted Australia Day in Spring at his residence for an exclusive gathering.

In line with this year’s theme, ‘Promoting Gender Equality and Empowering Women and Girls for the Future’, three Australian women-Celebrity DJ MzRizk from Melbourne, Former MasterChef Australia contestant (2013) Faiza Rehman and Melbourne-based hairdresser Joann Gan had come to Pakistan for the occasion. The Australians have been sharing their skills with young people, particularly women, through master classes and workshops over the last few days.

The Australian High Commissioner along with his wife Susan Heyward and along with other members of the embassy stood at the entrance courteously welcoming their guests.

Large photos of Australia’s work with Pakistani partners concealed passage way as guests- diplomats, government officials, members of the civil society and media made their way to the perfectly manicured lawns. The border of the garden luminous with fairy lights and cutouts of Australian sportswomen spread out.

Peter Heyward handed out certificates to 12 alumni receiving the Australian Alumni Excellence Award 2015 for Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships. Sadaf Jamil, Dr Munir Zia, Raheel Waqar and Lubna Hashmat received the certificates from Islamabad.

Heyward said that Australia and Pakistan’s links in the education sector are increasingly important and growing every year, with more than 10,000 Pakistani students studying in Australia.

Speaking about Australia’s aid programme for Pakistan, he said the programme was working to promote gender equality and women empowerment through its various projects and activities including in the areas of women’s voice in decision-making, leadership, and peace-building; women’s economic empowerment; and ending violence against women and girls.

“Women’s empowerment is one of the most effective methods for promoting economic growth and achieving lasting peace and security,” said the high commissioner.

A video message of the Australian envoy Natasha Stott Despoja, who speaks for women and girls rights across the globe was also played.

She said celebrating gender equality would help reduce poverty in female population. It would encourage them participate in economic development of the country, she added.

Natasha Despoja said her country was also supporting WFP for enabling it support women in emergencies by providing food and medical facilities.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2015. 


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