Palms Australia’s inaugural Solidarity Awards evening was declared a tremendous success, with guests excited by addresses by Palms’ Patrons, H.E. Dr José Ramos Horta and Deacon Gary Stone.
Executive Director Roger O’Halloran said the evening, held at Doltone House in Pyrmont overlooking Sydney’s Harbour Bridge, was an appropriate way to “launch Palms Australia into its second fifty years”.
The keynote address by Jose Ramos Horta highlighted the development challenges faced in Timor-Leste, including child malnutrition, improved training of teachers and distribution of oil revenues.
Responding to Dr Ramos Horta’s address, Deacon Gary Stone called upon those present to engage strongly with Palms Australia’s work, providing support however possible. Support could be provided, he said, financially, through assistance in recruiting more volunteers and by bringing Palms’ important work to the attention of their local MPs.
The evening was hosted by author and former broadcaster, Indira Naidoo, and featured performances by Sydney’s Solidarity Choir. Guests were welcomed by Aunty Janice Kennedy, an aboriginal elder, and Miriam Buchhorn, a volunteer currently on a short break from her work in Timor-Leste.
A highlight for many was the address from Mary Gilchrist, founding member and former director of Palms and Roy Boylan Award recipient, who briefly introduced people to the extent of Roy’s incredible legacy in work for justice and peace in Australia.
Other award winners included Catholic Mission, Barbara Clark, the Catholic Education Offices of Parramatta and Broken Bay, Peter De Haas and an individual donor to Palms Australia who wished to remain anonymous. More details of the Solidarity Awards are here.
A silent auction saw individuals receive a Papua New Guinean artefact, a Palms Encounter trip to Timor-Leste (flights sponsored by Air North) and a complementary round of golf.
Palms is now looking forward to the 2013 awards to be held at a similar time next year. Our first order of business, is however to continue our recruitment of volunteers to meet the needs outlined by Dr Ramos Horta.
Volunteers are required for a number of positions in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Samoa and Tanzania. An abridged list of current requests is available here and those interested in volunteering are encouraged to complete an enquiry form immediately.