MEET OUR TEAM

PATRONS

The Hon John Cain, former Premier of Victoria (1982-1990)
(appointed May 2010)

“I want to congratulate MAV’s efforts and honour these three decades of hard work by supporting Multicultural Arts Victoria, a vibrant organisation working arduously to foster acceptance and understanding of our cultural diversity both locally and internationally.
– Hon John Cain

“Multicultural Arts Victoria is committed to pursuing social justice for minorities and disadvantaged communities, it’s an honour to have Hon John Cain’s support for our future and strategic development.”
– Stefan Romaniw OAM, MAV Board Chairman (2001-2016)

“It is an absolute honour and a testament to all the creativity and cultural activity of the communities and artists associated with MAV to have the Hon. John Cain as the inaugural Patron of MAV. He has been a strong advocate for social justice in Victoria. We look forward to John’s contribution to strengthening Multicultural Arts Victoria”
– Jill Morgan AM, MAV CEO

Jason Yeap OAM
(appointed June 2014)

“It is a great privilege and honour to advocate for MAV because of its mission to reach out to the new arrivals to this country through innovative cultural engagements. It has brought better understanding and respect for all in Australia. Any advocacy for MAV that advances its mission is very essential and personally satisfying.
– Jason Yeap OAM

“Jason is an inspiration and mentor in striving to bring diverse art forms to the broader Australian community. He has a passion and walks the talk.”
– Stefan Romaniw OAM, MAV Board Chairman (2001-2016)

“As we move towards an election it is important that our Patron’s lead the campaign charge to garner support from both sides of government to ensure commitments of increased support for MAV, the only organisation of its kind in Victoria to support work specifically by culturally and linguistically divers artists and communities. It must be nurtured and valued.”
– Jill Morgan AM, MAV CEO

Ted Baillieu
(appointed March 2016)

The history and essence of Victoria is steeped in cultures drawn from across the world.  Since the days of Victoria’s Gold Rush, the contribution of the arts has been treasured and nurtured.  Multicultural Arts Victoria continues to draw out the magic, music, minds and passion of our most multicultural and most creative State.  I am delighted to join other MAV Patrons in encouraging the growth of Multicultural Arts Victoria.
– Ted Baillieu

MAV is pleased to have another high profile and committed advocate for the Arts in a Multicultural Victoria  in Ted Baillieu. Ted will bring further strength to MAV as an advocate, mentor and visionary.”
– Stefan Romaniw OAM, MAV Board Chairman (2001-2016)

“Ted Baillieu has championed the arts as former Premier and Minster of the Arts and is passionate about our diversity contributing to the State of Victoria. It is an honour to have his support in the development and future of MAV.”
– Jill Morgan AM, MAV CEO

MAV acknowledges our past patron:

The Late Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser AC CH GCL PC, former Prime Minister of Australia (1975-1983)
(appointed June 2011 – March 2015)

“We should be proud of our record as a migrant nation and we will be made stronger by diversity. I want to support the outstanding and important work of Multicultural Arts Victoria, a vibrant organisation working in the arts to foster acceptance and understanding of our cultural diversity both locally and internationally through the arts.
– Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser AC CH GCL PC

“It was an honour to have Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser’s support – his reforms on refugees, multiculturalism, services to immigrants, and human rights are the things he was most passionate about.”
– Stefan Romaniw OAM, MAV Board Chairman (2001-2016)

“Malcolm Fraser has been a strong advocate for social justice in Australia and internationally. We are thankful for his contribution to strengthening our community and Multicultural Arts Victoria. Australia has lost a great leader, ambassador and upholder of human rights. He will be missed by many. It was a privilege to have his support. Vale!”
– Jill Morgan AM, MAV CEO

EMERITUS CIRCLE

George Lekakis AO

Mike Zafiropoulos AM

Luciano Bini AM

Wellington Lee OAM

Jill Morgan AM

Hass Dellal AO

George Papadopoulos AM

John Boglis

Stefan Romaniw OAM

John Pandazopoulos

Prof Ruth Rentschler OAM

Marcello D’Amico

Natalia Moravski

BOARD

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MICHAEL VAN VLIET
Chair

Michael has extensive experience in the multicultural sector. In 2001 he was employed by the Victorian Government in the Multicultural Affairs portfolio. He was the grant manager at the Victorian Multicultural Commission from 2003-2011. After two years as communications manager at Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre, he now works in local government as the City of Yarra’s grants manager.

Michael comes from an immigrant family and realises the importance of maintaining cultural heritage through creative cultural expression. The stories of immigrants not only tell us where they have come from, but point to where Australia as a nation is going.

He has strong affiliation with the migrant communities of Victoria, especially the new arrived and refugee communities, and has worked closely with many migrant communities, helping them to develop and realise their projects. He has worked as a journalist and has a wide experience of government grants. He studied visual arts at Monash University and has a BA in Journalism from RMIT and plays piano and guitar.

Cultural Background: Australian/ Dutch/ Irish

Current Tenure: 2016-2019

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HUSS MUSTAFA OAM
Deputy Chair

Huss Mustafa OAM has a Turkish Cypriot heritage with very humble beginnings who migrated to Australia with his family at the age of 10 and is currently the General Manager, Multicultural Community Banking at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, with over 44 years of service.

Within 6 years of arriving in Australia in 1968, with no knowledge of the English language  he passed all his grades, and in 1974 obtained a position at the then State Bank Of Victoria, which merged with The Commonwealth Bank in 1991. Huss after 10 years at the bank, and at the ripe old age of 27 seeking to fulfil his career aspirations, applied and was granted a bursary from his employer to undertake further studies on a part time basis to complete his undergraduate studies majoring in Accounting, which he completed in 1989.

Huss in 2011 was appointed as a Commissioner at The Victorian Multicultural Commission for a 4 year term and is currently a member of the Small Business Minister’s Multicultural Business Ministerial Council. He is a founding member of the Australian Turkish Business Council and is currently the President in his 10th term. Huss has also served three terms on the Australian of the Year judging panel.

Huss has been a role model citizen within our Community and he continues to mentor a large number of professionals and Business owners and in 2014 he was included on the Queen’s Birthday Honors list and received the Order of Australia Medal for his contribution to Multiculturalism and Business.

Cultural Background: Australian/Turkish/Cypriot

 

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SYMON KOHUT
Deputy Chair

Symon is the grandchild of the postwar Ukrainian refugee migration to Australia.  His grandparents were from a richly cultured tradition and his grandmother became an internationally recognised poet of the Ukrainian diaspora.

He grew up bilingually and now raises his three young children bilingually in the multicultural soil of Melbourne’s inner west. Symon had an active childhood in the Ukrainian community in Melbourne. He went on to study Arts and Law and completed part of his studies in Ukraine. He has pursued a range of artistic projects as a musician and devoted his time to numerous leadership roles in the Ukrainian community including as editor of its national newspaper for eight years. He works in human resources for the Victorian government with expertise ranging from dispute resolution to conflict of interest management. He also writes, arranges and conducts music for choirs, specialising in East Slavic sacred music.

Cultural Background: Australian/Ukrainian

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LINDA PETRONE
Secretary

Linda Petrone brings to the board twenty-five years of professional experience working across the community, government and private sector, to promote diversity, human rights and inclusion.  Linda has held senior management roles in grants management, policy and research at the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) organisational governance, financial and operational responsibilities at Court Services, Department of Justice and is currently the business development manager at Oxfam.

Linda’s work brings together her expertise and strong knowledge of working with multicultural communities, refugees, migrants – including these in the arts sector – as well as its champions and advocates.  Linda has worked with Multicultural Arts Victoria while at the VMC, helping to support the important role arts have played as a key pillar in celebrating diverting and creating an inclusive society. This includes important community and whole of state initiatives such as Viva Victoria, Emerge and the Anti-hate Campaign.

Linda comes from an Italian migrant family and celebrates the importance of cultural expression as a part of our collective and individual identities. She has also worked in with local refugee migrant communities supporting their resettlement in in the inner Melbourne area. She holds a Master of Human Rights Law and Master of International Development.

Cultural Background: Australian/Italian

 

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SABRINA KAHRIC
Treasurer

Sabrina migrated to Australia as a young refugee, escaping from war–torn Bosnia and Herzegovina. With a strong aspiration to succeed in her career, Sabrina completed a Bachelor of Business, major in Accounting. She continued her studies by completing the CPA program and becoming a registered certified accountant also successfully finished a Corporate Governance Diploma. For the last fifteen years, Sabrina has held a senior finance position in the large multinational company, Caterpillar. Dealing with clients from diverse backgrounds, she is able to experience many different cultures in the Asian Pacific Region.

Sabrina was first introduced to multiculturalism at her English language school, where she fell in love with a bevy different cultures and backgrounds. This was a driving factor in her strong desire to promote multiculturalism within her community.

Sabrina had an active role in the Bosnian community in the western suburbs of Melbourne. She devoted her time in a leadership role in the ‘Kud Dukat folk group’. Mother of two teenage boys and is striving to raise her boys with a strong sense of community. She is hoping to pass her passion for diversity and acceptance to the next generation.

Cultural Background: Australian/Bosnian

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Carolina Aguilera De Snow

Carolina grew up in the outskirts of Buenos Aires and migrated to Australia in 1997. She is currently the Frankston City Council Arts Project Officer at the Cultural Development and Communities Department. She has produced and curated the annual intercultural Ventana Fiesta project since 2009. She is a qualified architect and teacher with interest and experience in social and sustainable outcomes. She has engaged in a variety of grass roots programs with communities of different cultural ethnic and religious backgrounds in partnership with a range of stakeholders including business, organisations, government, non government and foreign entities to address social cohesion and cross cultural awareness.

Cultural background: Australian/Argentinian

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Chidambaram Srinivasan

Chidambaram Srinivasan (Srini) has been a longstanding supporter of cultural activities in the communities in Melbourne for over 3 decades. As Commissioner at Victorian Multicultural Commission, for 6 years, he has had extensive community engagement and consultation. He is a passionate advocate for expanding the opportunities and platforms for performing arts groups and artists from multicultural communities. With his experience, he is able to provide cultural leadership to promote inclusive diversity and productive community and arts collaborations.

Srini has had a successful career spanning 32 years in the IT industry, having worked for IBM Corporation in Australia, India, U.S.A. and Japan in senior Management roles. He brings a variety of management skills, empathy, knowledge and experience in the areas of technology, business and community engagement. He has also been working in a voluntary capacity for over 12 years in areas of governance, policy review and fundraising.

Cultural Background: Australian/Indian

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Teresa De Fazio

Dr. Teresa De Fazio is currently the Manager, Cultural Diversity at Victoria University. In 2017, she completed two terms as Commissioner of the Victorian Multicultural Commission.
Her work as a Commissioner and academic has provided her with the privilege of working closely with many communities in Australia. She feels strongly about the important roles creative arts and education play in ensuring a positive and healthy sense of social connection for all citizens.

She is a Community Ambassador for Love of Languages and has received a number of awards for her dedication and work to multiculturalism. Teresa has published many articles and books amongst these teaching and learning resources for the Australian Human Rights Commission and Community Languages Australia. Dr. De Fazio is also a Community Ambassador for both the Asian Football Confederation Cup and Melbourne Victory. She is also on Board of the Edmund Rice Community and Refugee Services. She undertook a study program at Ca’ Foscari in Venice though a University of Melbourne scholarship. She is fluent in both English and Italian and is learning Spanish.

Cultural Background: Australian/Italian

Fiona Ford
Fiona Ford

Fiona Ford is an accomplished Senior Legal Counsel with a love for the arts. Fiona brings legal expertise to the Board with significant experience in general commercial matters, litigation, dispute resolution, and regulatory matters having worked for over 12 years as a Senior Associate lawyer at Mills Oakley Lawyers, Telstra Corporation Ltd, National Australia Bank Ltd and dōTERRA.

Passionate about the arts, Fiona is an active supporter of the multicultural arts sector which stems largely from her cultural heritage as a second generation Australian. A former Performing Artist, Fiona has participated in various capacities including 13 years as a former Performer, Manger and Tutor (and current Alumni member) of the Australian Girls Choir, former lead singer of acoustic band “Just Duet”, regular supporter and attendee of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Theatre Company and the Australian Ballet and skilled volunteering in the community through Mock interview workshops at June Consulting, the Salvation Army Hamodava Café, Melbourne and previously at the Monash Oakleigh Legal Service Centre.

Fiona holds a combined Bachelor of Performing Arts / Bachelor of Laws (BPA/LLB) degree at Monash University, Melbourne and has completed the post graduate Insolvency Practitioners Association Education Course, University of Southern Queensland. She is also a member of the Golden Key Society in Recognition of Academic Excellence and is an active member of Women on Boards, the Melbourne Cricket Club, Victoria Racing Club and the Royal Automotive Club of Victoria City Club, Melbourne.

Cultural Background: Australian/Polish-Jewish

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Jamie Lewis

Jamie creates and performs experimental and contemporary intercultural participatory work, facilitating meditations on identity, place, and time, through autobiographical stories, conversation and food. Committed to diversifying practice, Jamie seeks alternative models of working, and a re-imagining of leadership, governance, and structures. Jamie also collaborates as facilitator, dramaturg, and co-creator; curiously exploring place and new vantage points with Dan Koop, she creates and curates site-responsive participatory performances. She has experience in Audience Development, and consults on branding, marketing, and communications across arts organisations and small businesses. She is currently also Communications Manager at Theatre Network Australia and was in the 2018 cohort of Australia Council for the Arts’ Future Leaders program.

Cultural Background: Singaporean Eurasian

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Marie Allaman

Marie Allaman is a qualified arts programmer and curator with a passion for art as a means for social change. Marie has ten years’ experience as project and programs manager for museums in France, Australia and Canada, with extensive experience in cultural development strategies, community engagement, accessibility in the arts and audience participation.

French born, she moved to Australia three years ago and now calls Melbourne’s inner west suburbs home. Marie currently works for the National Wool Museum in Geelong where she manages programs and volunteers.

Cultural background: French/Italian

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Marcus Wong

Marcus Wong is the founder and Executive Director of Time of Art, who develops and manages cross-cultural artistic projects. With over 10 years of experience in project management, Marcus aims to provide a platform for artists to exchange and express ideas through creative integrations and educational implementations. Some successful ongoing projects such as Paper Culture and Bluestonia: Paperhood, have reached over 3 millions of audience locally and internationally. Before starting Time of Art, Marcus was a COO at an international finance company, developing and managing the operational procedures to support over AU$200 millions of mortgage funds for clients across Asia Pacific Region.

Born in Hong Kong SAR, China
Spoken Language: Cantonese (native), Mandarin, English
Written Language: Chinese, English

MAV TEAM
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VERONICA PARDO
CEO

Previously, for nine years, Veronica has been Executive Director of Arts Access Victoria, the state’s leading arts and disability organisation. Through her work, she has led an ambitious agenda of social and artistic transformation for people with a disability and the communities in which they live. With a passion for social justice and equity, she has spearheaded campaigns relating to the inclusion of all people in arts and culture, as audiences and cultural innovators. Veronica has a successful history of employment at senior levels in the not for profit sector, with a major focus on policy and advocacy.

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ANDY MILLER
General Manager

Initially trained as a painter at the Canberra School of Art, Andy Miller worked in theatre for a number of years before working to establish arts programs in the community sector. Following a few years as an arts and cultural officer at two local governments, Andy began a career in the state public service in various senior roles at Arts Victoria and Creative Victoria and was seconded for a period with Creative Partnerships Australia, as Senior Programs Manager. As well as a Bachelor in Fine Arts, he has a Masters in Public Policy and a Graduate Diploma in Arts Management from the University of Melbourne.

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Hung Nguyen
Finance & Office Manager

Hung Nguyen is a CPA with over 15 years experience working in accounts and finance. He joined Multicultural Arts Victoria in late 2006, shortly after migrating to Australia. Previously, Hung was Finance and Supply Chain Manager at Dumex Vietnam, a subsidiary of Danone Global. He also holds many years of experience working in large multinationals overseas. Managing MAV’s finance and IT operations, Hung supports the Board and leadership teams with timely provision of financial reports, analysis, effective management and contribution to the successful business operation and financial achievements of MAV. Hung completed a Masters of Accounting from Swinburne University and the CPA Australia program.

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Deshani Berhardt
Administration & Design

Originally from Sri Lanka, Deshani performed for over 15 years as a professional ballet and contemporary dancer alongside working as a dance teacher and facilitating art workshops stemming from her passion for working in the community sector. She moved to Australia to complete her Bachelor in Design and has since worked on multiple major projects in photography and graphic design including Multicultural Arts Victoria’s inaugural Mapping Melbourne festival and corporate materials. At MAV, Deshani has also coordinated the Music Deli Concert Series at the Melbourne Recital Centre in addition to providing core administrative support for the organisation.

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SNEHA VARMA
Marketing & Communications

Originally from India, Sneha has previously worked in event management, celebrity management, and social media management; and has also performed and worked for over 5 years as a professional contemporary dancer. She completed her Bachelors of Science in Visual Communication with a specialization in film production. Sneha moved to Australia to complete her Masters in Arts and Cultural Management and simultaneously volunteered at various festivals and arts organisations as well. With a strong passion for multicultural arts activities, Sneha has proven skill and ability to develop and implement effective communication strategies to connect and engage with community members from diverse backgrounds.

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Anita Larkin
Creative Producer

Anita Larkin has over 20 years experience as a musician and founded many of MAV’s community cultural development and mentoring programs in 2004, providing vital connections and career pathways – stimulating tangible cultural and economic development alongside new eclectic musical genres for Australia’s musical landscape. Anita was awarded the George Fairfax Arts and Entertainment Management Scholarship in 2007 for her successful track record in cross cultural community arts.

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Miriam Abud
Community Engagement Coordinator

Miriam has worked with multicultural artists since 2001, on events and programs at MAV and elsewhere. She co-presented Africa #1 African music program on PBS radio station for several years, and has played in a range of bands from jazz to folk, rock and soukous. After working in education in both primary and secondary schools, she is enthusiastic about returning to the arts and cultural development realm.

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Meg Larkin
Creative Producer

Meg Larkin manages Multicultural Arts Victoria’s suite of major events and festivals as part of the organisation’s Artist & Creative Event Brokerage service, this has included the annual live productions for Australia Day (VIC) celebrations, New Year’s Eve at Fed Sq, Viva Victoria Multicultural festival and the Premiers’ Gala Dinner. Since joining Multicultural Arts Victoria in 2005, she has provided thousands of performance opportunities for diverse artists and advocacy for diversity in the arts across sectors and levels. In 2013, Meg became Creative Producer for the inaugural Mapping Melbourne festival – a contemporary arts initiative exploring the impact of Asia on Melbourne’s ever-evolving cultural and artistic identity – that has become a major annual program in the City of Melbourne.

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Arik Blum
Project Officer - Artist Services

Coming from a background as a musician and music producer, Arik has been working in the music industry for over 15 years and has worked alongside many of Melbourne’s amazing musicians as both a multi-instrumentalist and music producer. Over the last 5 years, Arik set up and runs GRID Series, an artist development program that helps emerging artists build capacity and community around their musical projects.
At MAV, Arik helps artists find performance opportunities, works with programmers in creating culturally diverse line-ups for events and links up musicians with both government and commercial sectors. Arik is also soccer fanatic who has a special interest in early 90’s football trivia, particular based around Italia ’90.

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Shaheen Rispoli
Brokerage Services Coordinator

Having been involved in the arts from a young age, Shaheen has a strong passion for cultural expression through dance, music and art. Shaheen has volunteered at multiple events, festivals and organisations whilst completing her Masters in Arts and Cultural Management. These experiences have equipped Shaheen with an appreciation for the finer aspects of event and stage management that she brings to her work at Multicultural Arts Victoria. She is dedicated to aiding culturally diverse artists connect with events and programmers in Melbourne, and Victoria more broadly.

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Freyja Macfarlane
Events Producer

Freyja Macfarlane has worked in the arts, music and event sectors for over 15 years in a variety of roles ranging from event producer and artist liaison to site and logistics manager. Freyja joined the MAV stage management team in 2014 and in 2016 was invited to come on board as a festival and event coordinator working across multiple projects including Piers Festival, Emerge in the West and Mapping Melbourne. She has a BA in Music Business (RMIT) and studied acting, theatre and film at the Victorian College of the Arts.

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Forest Keegel
Emerge Cultural Hubs Coordinator

Forest Keegel has twenty years experience as a visual artist in Community Cultural Development. She is passionate about creating participatory artworks and engaging people to generate work that expresses their voice and identity and believes in using the arts as a thread that ties people together and weaves joyous communities. She worked collaboratively with diverse young people at the Artful Dodgers Studios, Jesuit Social Services for 11 years and was a member of the Art Central team of artists in the Central Goldfields Shire. ;

She lives and works on Dja Dja Wurrung Country and listens deeply to the stories of the Traditional Owners who continue to share their rich cultural heritage with a generosity which astounds her. As a settler she can trace back roots to Sri Lanka and the UK.

VOLUNTEERS & INTERNSHIPS

Multicultural Arts Victoria would like to acknowledge and thank its volunteers and interns for their tireless and passionate contribution.

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