Working in public policy development doesn’t always get much public recognition but Hakan Aykol has had a long and lasting impact on appreciative multicultural communities.
Hakan is a tireless advocate for the needs of migrant and refugee communities and this week, received the Public Service Medal as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours in recognition of his hard work.
Now Director of the Victorian Multicultural Commission, Hakan was recognised for his outstanding contribution to the public service through multicultural policy design and program delivery in Victoria over the past 3 decades.
His enduring passion and commitment to advocating for and supporting migrants and refugees is well known in Victoria’s multicultural communities. His wisdom, innovation, resilience and good humour are legendary.
Here are a just a few of the messages of support and warm congratulations the Commission has received over the past few days, from Hakan’s friends and colleagues:
"Hakan Akyol’s contribution to our communities commenced in 1987 in various roles in the community sector and the Victorian public service. As an advocate for migrants and refugees at a municipal level, and then at a statewide level at the helm of the Ethnic Communities Council Victoria, he worked diligently and tirelessly to articulate and advocate on behalf of communities at the highest levels.
His 20-year contribution in the Victorian public service and, in particular, the multicultural affairs portfolio has also been outstanding. In various roles he has responded to meet community needs and aspirations through the development of many important community strengthening programs.
He was also pioneering with his contributions to community and interfaith harmony making Victoria a leader internationally in very troubling times.
Hakan’s ability to work cooperatively with communities and public service colleagues has enabled the development of responsive public policy and many service development initiatives.
Hakan’s individual attributes include working relentlessly, resourcefully and intelligently for social justice and an inclusive community."
George Lekakis AO
Former VMC Chairperson 2001-2010
"Hakan has made an enormous contribution to the landscape of multicultural affairs in Victoria. He has been visionary, thoughtful and forthright in his work to ensure our multicultural communities are listened to by Government.
This is a well-deserved recognition for his tireless work as a champion for multicultural communities in Victoria."
Carmel Guerra OAM
CEO, Centre for Multicultural Youth
"I have known Hakan over the past 6 years and although we have not worked together directly, he has been a frequent participant in so many meetings providing the policy history, community knowledge and managing expectations of both the external participants and the internal stakeholders.
His gentle support and encouragement have defined the Victorian Government’s approach to engagement with small and large communities. He has always been approachable, sincere and dedicated and I am so thrilled that his professionalism and commitment to Victoria is being recognised."
CEO, Scanlon Foundation
"Hakan has made an outstanding contribution to the Australian community, championing and advancing the cause of multicultural affairs.
His strategic leadership has had a major and immense impact benefiting all of the Victorian community. Hakan’s work is underpinned by a formidable agenda for social change. He has spearheaded many significant initiatives improving understanding of the value and benefits of multiculturalism.
His tenacity and strong advocacy has importantly led to the implementation of multicultural and human rights policy and innovative inclusive program design and delivery.
The Public Service Medal is very well deserved.
Our community is in a much better place through Hakan’s exemplary leadership and dedication to the sector.
HUGE congrats Hakan!"
Jill Morgan AM
Director, Ethnic Communities Council Victoria/ Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia
"For over 3 decades Hakan has been an influential, innovative and effective driver of multicultural public policy development in Victoria. Our success as a multicultural community in Victoria is, in large part, down to his good work.
He is thoroughly grounded in the community sector as a former Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria Executive Officer through the 1990s, and as an Migrant Resource Centre Board member. 2 decades ago he was able to transition from a community advocate to an internal advocate within the State Government and has driven a cutting-edge Victorian Government agenda since.
Congratulations Hakan on this this life-time’s work you have done with great distinction."
"Hakan’s contribution to the multicultural community is significant. He underpinned the contribution of the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria for his years as executive officer to Victor Borg and George Lekakis. He \has a wonderful grassroots understanding of multiculturalism and the ability to influence government in the various positions he has held.
Awards, I believe, should be given on the basis of 'above and beyond normal duties'. Harkan has given well beyond normal duties.
From the ECCV's perspective we were the recipients of many years of loyal service, that experience has proved to be a valuable asset for the important role he occupies at the VMC.
I congratulate you for your award on behalf of the ECCV family.
Chairperson, Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria
"Congratulations on your Public Service Award. What a wonderful and well-deserved recognition for the amazing dedication you have given to advancing Multicultural Affairs in Australia.
I have known you close to 30 years and your energy and commitment to Victoria’s Multicultural Community has never diminished.
Well done and thank you for your service, advice, and invaluable friendship over the many years.
Picture quote “Hakan’s next best love after his family and work is EATING. I didn’t even get a look into the sweet on this massive tray at Victoria’s inaugural Baklava Festival, in which Hakan assisted the Australian Multicultural Foundation to put on the event’.
Hass Dellal AO
"I have known Hakan for 15 years and in that time he has been in the vanguard of support for cultural diversity and social cohesion in Victoria. He was strident in his support of the AFL Multicultural Program when we started that initiative back in 2005.
Without Hakan’s and the VMC assistance alongside his great mate and former colleague George Lekakis, initiatives such as the AFL Peace Team, live AFL game visits and the Multicultural Schools Program would have faced many more hurdles.
Hakan, through the VMC, continued to provide support for Cricket Australia inclusion programs which I was involved with and through the Multicultural Sports Fund which currently helps drive Football Victoria’s social cohesion activities aimed at engaging our many multicultural communities in the World Game.
We congratulate Hakan on his outstanding well-deserved recognition."
Head of Community Projects, Football Victoria
Reviewed 23 June 2021