Oz Arab Media’s first Annual Gala Dinner held on the 19th of May 2023 was a spectacular evening filled with glamour, entertainment, and a celebration of outstanding achievements. The event, attended by over 550 distinguished guests and dozens of dignitaries including Members of Parliament, Ministers, Ambassadors, religious leaders, and businesspeople, took place at the magnificent Doltone House in Bossley Park venue, setting the stage for an unforgettable night. With a packed agenda that included music performances, keynote speeches, award presentations, and charity initiatives, the Gala Dinner proved to be a resounding success.
The evening commenced at 6:30 PM with the enchanting melodies of Anthony Marawi, who provided a warm and welcoming ambiance as attendees enjoyed delightful canapés. The atmosphere was buzzing with anticipation for the exciting program that lay ahead.
At around 7:30 PM, the talented musician Fares Khouri took the stage, captivating the audience with his mesmerizing performance. His soulful tunes and skillful violin artistry set the perfect tone for the night.
Later on, Mr. Fred Frangi, the esteemed Master of Ceremonies, took the spotlight. With his eloquent words and engaging presence, Mr. Frangi welcomed Uncle John Dickson who acknowledged the country, paying respects to the traditional owners. Afterwards, the beautiful rendition of the Australian National Anthem by Sheridan Mouawad filled the room with patriotism.
Following the formalities, Mr. Frangi delivered the opening remarks, highlighting the significance of the event and its purpose. He emphasized the importance of the AIM Business Awards, which recognize excellence and innovation in various fields, as well as the charitable initiatives undertaken by the organizers through the Lions Club of Canterbury Bankstown.
The Gala Dinner also showcased the OZ Arab Media Group through a captivating commercial video followed by the welcome note by Mr. Remy Wehbe, the General Manager of the media group. The video highlighted the organization’s commitment to promoting Arab culture and bridging communities.
After a short video about Little Scribblers, the major sponsors of the event, The Hon. Jihad Dib, State MP for Bankstown, took the stage. As the Minister for Customer Services and Digital Government, Minister for Emergency Services, and Minister for Youth Justice, his presence added great prestige to the event. He represented The Hon. Chris Minns, the Premier, who sent a heartfelt video message to express his support for the Gala Dinner and its noble causes. The Hon. Mark Speakman, the Leader of the Opposition in NSW, also shared his thoughts and encouragement in his speech.
Mrs. Christine Nassif and Mrs. Sophia Sarkis captivated the audience explaining the Burmese crisis and the purposes of the Lions Clubs. They also highlighted the Raffle and Silent Auctions that aimed to raise funds for the cause. The President of the AIM Association, Mr. Charbel Tadros, expressed his gratitude and highlighted the importance of multiculturalism in Australia.
The highly anticipated AIM Award Distribution for the NGO category followed, with a video showcasing the finalists and their exceptional contributions. Despite some finalists not submitting videos, the judges took their time to deliberate and vote. Finally, Nissy Nassif and Julia Lattouf took the stage to announce the winner, the Melkite Charitable Foundation, amidst applause and cheers. Memorable photos were captured to commemorate this remarkable achievement.
Following the first award distribution, His Excellency Dr. Ali Kreishan, the Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Dean of the Arabic Ambassadors to Australia, graced the event with his presence. He was followed by The Hon. Jason Clare, the Federal MP for Blaxland and Minister for Education, who represented The Hon. Anthony Albanese, the Prime Minister. Their presence added a sense of honor and national and international significance to the Gala Dinner.
Sheridan Mouawad, a talented singer, took the stage afterwards, enchanting the audience with her melodious voice and captivating performance. Her captivating presence and soulful renditions added an extra touch of elegance to the evening.
The night progressed with the highly anticipated AIM Award Distribution for the Business and Entrepreneur categories. Similar to the NGO category, videos showcasing the finalists were presented, acknowledging their remarkable accomplishments. The judges carefully deliberated and cast their votes before Carol Ferrone and George Bousamra took the stage to announce the winners. In the Business category, Saj House emerged as the deserving recipient of the prestigious AIM Award, while Nathan Taleb claimed the title of Entrepreneur winner. The Entrepreneur award was given by Wally Mehanna and Anthony Maroun. The winners’ elation was shared by the audience as flashes of cameras captured the joyous moment.
As the night drew to a close, the Gala Dinner reached its pinnacle with the closing remarks delivered by the MC expressing the heartfelt gratitude of the organisers to all the guests, sponsors, and participants who contributed to the success of the event. Attendees were encouraged to continue supporting the causes championed by the Gala Dinner and to embrace the spirit of giving back to the community.
The evening concluded with a series of photographs and videos courtesy of Dr. Alaa Alawadi’s excellent team, capturing the highlights and cherished memories of this extraordinary event. The photographs served as a reminder of the night’s grandeur and the shared commitment to excellence, charity, and community engagement.
As the guests departed, they carried with them a sense of fulfillment and a renewed commitment to making a difference in their communities. The Annual Gala Dinner had not only celebrated achievements but had also ignited a spark within everyone to strive for greatness, contribute to charitable causes, and foster a spirit of unity and compassion.
The success of the Annual Gala Dinner was a testament to the power of collaboration, the celebration of excellence, and the commitment to giving back. It served as a reminder that when individuals and organizations come together, they have the potential to create a profound and lasting impact on society. The 19th of May 2023 will forever be etched in the memories of all who attended as a night of inspiration, celebration, and the embodiment of the spirit of multiculturalism and charity.