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multiculturalcommission.vic.gov.au

Commissioners

The VMC is led by 12 Commissioners of diverse cultural, faith and professional backgrounds who have a focus on supporting Victorians of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to participate in all aspects of life.

Viv Nguyen, Chairperson

Current Term: 24 August 2019 to 23 August 2023

First Appointed: 24 August 2019

Viv Nguyen is a passionate advocate for diversity and multiculturalism. She is an established business executive and community leader, having previously held roles as Group Head of Diversity at the ANZ Banking Group, President of the Vietnamese Community in Australia’s Victorian Chapter and non-executive director at City West Water. At the Department of Health and Human Services and Melbourne City Mission, she supported the disability sector’s transition to the NDIS.

Prior to her work in the public and community sectors, she held roles at the AustChoice Financial Services, AMP Asset Management and ANZ Banking Group where she led the global organisation’s diversity strategy. Viv was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal in 2003 and was recorded on the Victorian Honour Roll (2002) for her services to the community, advocating for women in leadership and Vietnamese young people.

Maria Dimopoulos AM, Deputy Chairperson

Current Term: September 2019 to September 2023

First Appointed: September 2019

Maria Dimopoulos AM is a nationally and internationally recognised executive leader and expert on multicultural affairs. Maria has over 25 years of experience in cultural diversity, gender equity justice and human rights. She has worked with government and community as a policy adviser and strategist, community advocate, speaker and mentor.

Trained as a lawyer, she has operated a successful consultancy business for many years, consulting predominately in diversity, gender equality and intersectionality. In 2017 she was recognised for her contribution to supporting multiculturalism and women from diverse backgrounds with the Australian Migration and Settlement Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2020, Maria was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her service to cultural diversity and the prevention of domestic violence.

Mohammed Yassin, Community Representative Commissioner

Current Term: September 2019 to September 2021

First Appointed: September 2019

Mohammed Yassin is an emerging leader and a former refugee, arriving in Australia in 2003 and settling in Shepparton for two years before moving to Melbourne. An entrepreneur and advocate with a passion for supporting multicultural communities and young people, Mohammed is the founder and CEO of Culture and Co, a cultural training and consulting organisation that is working with the government and the non-for-profit sector to create programs that meet the needs of people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.

He has completed a Bachelor of Biomedical Science with Honours from the University of Melbourne and worked as a cancer research scientist with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Currently, he serves as board of directors member with the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria and a project lead - “Strategic partnerships and community engagement” with Spectrum MRC.

Khayshie Tilak Ramesh, Youth Commissioner

Current Term: September 2019 to September 2021

First Appointed: February 2019

Khayshie is a passionate advocate for youth, multiculturalism and diverse representation at influential decision-making tables. She is an experienced board director and legal advisor with an honours degree in law and accreditation in mediation. Khayshie has served on a number of boards and committees including Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services, ARCJustice, Ambulance Victoria Community Advisory Committee, LEAD Loddon Murray, National Rural Law and Justice Alliance, Young People for Refugees and City of Greater Bendigo Economic Strategy Steering Committee. Khayshie served as the Inaugural City of Greater Bendigo Youth Mayor and was instrumental in forming the first Youth Council in 2019.

Khayshie has been named in the top 100 future leaders of Australia, Young Citizen of the Year 2017, Premier’s Volunteer Leadership Champion 2019, Law Student of the Year 2019 and has represented Australia at the Young Humanitarian United Nations Conference in Thailand in 2018.

Sisay Dinku

Current Term: September 2019 to September 2021

First Appointed: May 2017

Sisay Dinku has been widely engaged in community development in the African Australian diaspora and the broader multicultural community in Victoria. He is a founding member of the Celebrate African Australians awards program, an AFL Multicultural Community Ambassador and Chairperson of the African Union Delegates Liaison.

He is also a Director at Multicultural Consulting Services and serves on the board of the charity Australian Books for Children of Africa. Sisay has managed and worked on a number of programs to assist new migrants to compete in the local labour market – especially in industries experiencing skills shortages – through job search plans, Australian work culture orientations and employability skills training.

Tina Hosseini

Current Term: October 2017 to August 2021

First Appointed: October 2015 (former Youth Commissioner)

Tina is a passionate campaigner for multiculturalism, human rights, social justice and adolescent health and well-being. She is currently a Research Fellow at Swinburne University, focused on the evaluation of school-based training programs in the area of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). Her previous experiences as a Deakin University Research Fellow have included adolescent prevention-based projects focused on reducing problem behaviours.

She is an active member of the Iranian Women’s Association, Deputy Chair of the Victorian Red Cross Board, a Board member of the City Local Learning and Employment Network and a Member of the Victorian Children’s Council. Tina holds a Master of Science (Distinction) and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne, and has completed the Foundations of Directorship course at the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She has also held leadership roles with the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre and was the previous chair of the Multicultural Youth Network.

Shankar Kasynathan 

Current Term: September 2019 to September 2023

First Appointed: September 2019

Shankar Kasynathan came to Australia with his family as refugees. Over the past 15 years, he has worked closely with refugee and migrant communities in Victoria, the Northern Territory and the ACT. A skilled communications and public policy specialist, he has degrees in Economics and Public Policy. He is an active supporter of community organisations that help to build partnerships and social cohesion in regional areas. Since December 2017, Shankar has been a national campaign manager with Amnesty International Australia. He is also an ambassador for the Migrant Workers Centre.

David Nyuol Vincent

Current Term: September 2019 to September 2023

First Appointed: September 2019

David Nyuol Vincent is a dedicated refugee and multicultural community advocate with a passion for social inclusion, justice and equality. David has worked in the community sector for over 10 years, including at the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Centre for Multicultural Youth. He is a former Youth Ambassador for the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and currently leads community engagement for Initiatives of Change Australia. David is a refugee and has published the book The Boy Who Wouldn’t Die, a memoir about his life as a child soldier and his journey to rebuild his life in Australia as a community advocate and humanitarian.

Walter Rapoport

Current Term: November 2017 – August 2021

First Appointed: November 2017

Walter Rapoport is a former Chairperson of the Council of Christians and Jews (Victoria) and edited the Council’s annual journal, Gesher, from 2013 to 2016. Walter has had a long and abiding interest in interfaith and intercultural engagement and served as the inaugural Chairman of the interfaith relations committee of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, an Australian organisation dedicated to combating anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism and hatred. He also chaired the steering committees of two projects delivered under the Commonwealth Government’s Living in Harmony grants program, ‘Building Bridges’ and ‘Embracing Youth’. He is cofounder and joint-CEO of a finance company.

Dr Judy Tang

Current Term: September 2019 to September 2023

First Appointed: September 2019

Judy Tang is a strong advocate for multicultural and LGBTIQA+ communities with expertise in psychology, ageing, research and mental health. With extensive relationships across government and community groups, Judy has volunteered for more than 10 years to promote and advocate for multiculturalism and equality for migrants. She is a former VMC Multicultural Champion and President of the Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council, a national body that advocates for the rights of multicultural and multifaith LGBTIQA+ people and communities. Judy has a doctorate in neuropsychology and is a practising Clinical Neuropsychologist.

Bwe Thay

Current Term: September 2019 to September 2023

First Appointed: September 2019

Bwe Thay is a passionate advocate for a multicultural Australia. He has held many leadership roles within Victoria’s multicultural sector with a focus on education and employment for new and emerging communities. He has received a range of community and academic awards for his contributions, including the VMC’s 2018 Emerging Leadership in Multiculturalism Award. Bwe has also been a member of the VMC Eastern Metropolitan Regional Advisory Council since 2017, providing information about issues and challenges impacting multicultural communities in the region. He is a graduate from the Australian Catholic University, and currently leads migrant student support at the Swinburne University of Technology.

Rosaria Zarro

Current Term: November 2017 – August 2021

First Appointed: November 2017

Rosaria Zarro has been an educator for the past 17 years, with experience teaching Italian, science and history in government schools and cultural organisations. She has worked for Museum Victoria, Museo Italiano and the State Library of Victoria to produce and deliver education programs based around their exhibitions and collections. Rosaria has delivered many innovative programs in the Italian language at the Melbourne Museum, Immigration Museum and Scienceworks and more recently has worked on the development of programs and resources in French, Spanish and Japanese. She continues to teach in a school as well as coordinating a student exchange for students in Italy.

Outgoing Commissioners

Ross Alatsas, Deputy Chairperson September 2011 – August 2019; Acting Chairperson May-August 2019.

Sonia Vignjevic concluded her term in August 2019.

Dr Mimmie Claudine Ngum Chi Watts concluded her term in August 2019.

Dr Sundram Sivamalai concluded his term in August 2019.

Reviewed 06 November 2020

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