Israeli Embassy and Aboriginals in joint IT project in Dubbo

September 2, 2010 Agencies
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The Embassy of Israel in conjucntion with the Mayng Galang people of Dubbo, officially opened the Allira Aboriginal Knowledge IT Centre in the NSW country town.

Ambassador Yuval Rotem is seated on the Aboriginal Flag Photo: Amy Griffiths - Daily Liberal

The centre is dedicated to the development of a repository of oral stories and cultural traditions so that the history of the community of the Mayng Galang people be preserved for future generations.  The unique joint undertaking has developed from a shared tradition between the Mayng Galang and the Jewish people in placing importance on the passing down of knowledge from one generation to the next.

The project will consist of a computer hub, will fulfill a long held desire of the elders of the Dubbo indigenous community for a centralised and technical centre to assist in the collection and recording of the history and oral traditions of the local people.  The Embassy of Israel financially supported this project as part of a wider initiative to engage with the broader Australian community.  The Embassy hopes that the endeavour will encourage other diplomatic missions in Australian to come together with the same spirit toward mutual understanding and cross cultural exploration.

During the opening ceremony, Ambassador Yuval Rotem, Mayor Allan Smith and, a as a representative of the local Aboriginal Community, Deputy Mayor Rod Towney, addressed the audience.  Guests included members of the local community, representatives of the Jewish Community, and members of the diplomatic corps.

Uncle John Hill, an elder from the Dubbo community gave a welcome to country to Ambassador Rotem, and the Mayor of Dubbo Allan Smith applauded the community for their support for the project, saying “the best thing about Dubbo is what you see here – it’s the people”.

H.E. Yuval Rotem spoke about the importance of preserving culture and history through language. “With a disintegration and disconnection from living language, the culture of the people who once spoke it dies with them,” he said. “Without an investment in safeguarding language, we stand to lose more than just words.”

New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputy President Yair Miller recited a Jewish blessing, marking the launch of the centre.

Allira Board committee member Lyn Riley, commented on the common experiences of the Jewish and Aboriginal communities, and called on the community to stand up against racism and injustice. “If there is any inhumanity we have to speak up,” she said.

She was likewise excited by the prospect of a high tech link between the past and future of the Mayng Galang community.  “If we don’t want to lose who we are, and if we do not want to lose our voice, then we have to record our stories.”

Ambassador Rotem echoed her sentiments, saying “It is my hope that the centre will become a hub of education and learning for the Mayng Galang people of Dubbo, and a place for the dissemination and sharing of knowledge, history, language and culture.”

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