To mark International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People UNIC Canberra took part in two events, one in Sydney and one in Canberra. In Canberra, on the 2nd of December, in collaboration with the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, the Council of Arab Ambassadors and the Australian Parliamentary Friends of Palestine Group, UNIC Canberra held a first of its kind event at the Australian Parliament House soccer fields.
The official proceedings were opened by the Co-Chair of the Australian Parliamentary Friends of Palestine Group, Ms Maria Vamvakinou MP, followed by official remarks by H.E Mr Mohamed Mael-Ainin, Ambassador of Morocco, Dean of the Council of Arab Ambassadors, and then the Head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific H.E Mr Izzat Abdulhadi. The UN Secretary-General’s message for the Day was officially read out by Ms Julia Dean of UNIC Canberra.
As part of the ceremony young Australian footballer Mac Millar donated 10 soccer balls and a $400 cheque to the children of Gaza. The money was raised by Mac through his community work in Australia and India.
Closing the official ceremony Chair of the Australian Parliamentary Friends of Palestine Group, Mr Craig Laundy MP spoke of the need to turn words into action and highlighted the strong support of the Australian Parliamentarians present at the event as evidence of their willingness to work together towards to help achieve a peaceful resolution of the question of Palestine.
The friendly soccer match between Australian Parliamentarians and the Australian Palestinian community saw a fitting conclusion to the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, bringing together members of the diplomatic corps, parliamentarians, as well as the Palestinian community and general public.
The second event was held in Sydney on the 29th of November. The UNIC Canberra joined the Australian Palestinian Club, the General Union of Palestinian Workers, the Australian Palestinian Professionals Association on the actual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Included in the night were official speeches given by the Palestinian Representative to Australia, Mr Izzat Abdulhadi and UNIC Canberra NIO Julia Dean.
Following the speeches there was musical entertainment which was thoroughly enjoyed and a quiz which included questions on the UN and Palestine.