Top award for Jeremy Jones

March 11, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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Applauded as a world leader in interfaith dialogue and a champion of human rights, Sydney Jewish leader Jeremy Jones has been awarded New South Wales’ most prestigious honour, The Stepan Kerkyasharian AO Medal for Community Harmony.

Premier Mike Baird, Jeremey Jones and Minishet John Ajaka

Premier Mike Baird, Jeremy Jones and Minister John Ajaka

At a gala dinner attended by 1400 people, including political leaders, diplomats, religious personalities and media, Jones received his Medal from NSW  Premier Michael Baird.

Citing a list of contributions and achievements, from his high school days as a volunteer with Indigenous children,through to his pioneering work, in Australia and internationally, in interfaith dialogue and fighting antisemitism, the panel of judges said that his contribution had a profound positive impact on this State and Nation with the Premier saying: “Mr Jones has demonstrated a commitment to building bridges between various communities and religious groups in our multicultural society.”

His successful nomination recorded “He has played an important role in promoting communal harmony from 1978, when he served as Sydney University’s Student Representative Council’s first Ethnic Relations Officer, to the present day where he serves on the NSW Police Commissioner’s Multicultural Advisory Council (PMAC), the Executives of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies  (JBoD) and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), and chairs the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims & Jews and the Australian Partnership of Religious Organisations (APRO) (and much more in NSW, Australia and globally), he has made a consistent, high quality contribution. The involvement has been at the local level, eg through 2EA radio and the Ethnic Communities Council, the State Level (eg JBoD and PMAC), national level (serving as President of the ECAJ, founding the Australian Partnership being the interfaith mentor for the Muslim Jewish Conference and working with the international cohort of young Jewish leaders commencing dialogue activities under the guidance of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations. He has developed strong bonds with Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Baha’i, Buddhist and Hindu leaders and with Indigenous, Bosnian, Indonesian, Polish, Indian and other communities. He has been invited to speak about multiculturalism – as an advocate – in countries as diverse as Indonesia, Bosnia, Azerbaijan and Morocco.”

“There is barely a single area of multiculturalism in NSW which has not benefitted from the contribution, particularly in the areas of documenting and opposing racism.

In addition to publishing close to 50 reports on the activities of racist organisations in Australia, he has been successful in a series of complaints under the Racial Discrimination Act (Cth) and been involved in the development of legislation designed to further the opportunities for all Australians to live with dignity and freedom. He has built important, resilient coalitions to promote multicultural ideas, including the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims & Jews, APRO, Faith Communities for Aboriginal Reconciliation and Community Alert Against Racial Violence. His international activities have contribute to bringing NSW’s world best practice multiculturalism before global audiences.”

A previous recipient of the Australian Human Rights Medal and a Member of the Order of Australia, Jeremy Jones said “I see this Award as a tribute to all my colleagues in anti-racism, Indigenous reconciliation, interfaith dialogue, multifaith collaboration and promotion of a kinder, more caring, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and world”.

He said that he was honoured to receive the Award in the presence of some remarkable leaders and mentors, including Stepan Kerkyasharian (for whom the and retiring Deputy Police Commissioner Nick Kaldas.

He said that he was moved deeply by the enthusiastic response the announcement received from the Bosnian Muslim community, a multifaith Indonesian group, Anglican and Catholic Church leaders, Indigenous groups and others he felt it had always been a privilege to work with.

Jones offered congratulations to the Together for Humanity Foundation, which received a special commendation, and to the recipients of the community medals for youth,lifetime achievement, media, business and regional activity.

Dr Colin Rubenstein, the executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council said that the Stepan Kerkyasharian AO Harmony Award is NSW’s highest community medal, and is awarded annually to recognise “the contribution and achievement of an individual or organisation in facilitating and promoting social cohesion, understanding and acceptance between members of the differing cultural or faith communities in New South Wales.”

AIJAC’s National Chairman Mark Leibler said, “This is a richly deserved honour for Jeremy of which all of us at AIJAC are very proud.” AIJAC’s Executive Director Colin Rubenstein agreed, saying” Anyone who knows Jeremy or the role he performs understands that no one works harder or with more passion for inter-faith and inter-communal harmony than he does. He is an ornament, not only to AIJAC and the Australian Jewish community, but to Australian public life as whole.”


2 Responses to “Top award for Jeremy Jones”
  1. Margaret Kirkby says:

    Dear Jeremy – this is from a voice from the past in that I was on the AUS (yes!) Executive many moons ago and was involved in left student politics at USyd. I’m just saying ‘hi’ and want to congratulate you on your good work for the Jewish population in Australia and outside Oz. Way back when I was a teenager and living in Deniliquin with my family (being the third of 7 children….yes…a Catholic upbringing…) I read a lot of books about WW2 and the holocaust. Each of the books I read left me with amazement and anger that, somehow, it was allowed to happen. I still have those books to this day and every now and then I re-read some of them to remind myself how easy it can be within communities to develop an ‘us and them’ attitude towards those whom are seen as ‘others’.

    Being raised as a Catholic in rural Australia one of the big issues for that community was about contraception and whether it was acceptable for Catholic women to control their fertility to limit the number of pregnancies they had. For those who had daughters – you would probably be aware that a large number of Catholic women from rural areas were ‘disappeared’ for many months and taken to a home for young women who had an unplanned pregnancy. I can still hear to this day the sobbing of my mother as my father drove my mother, myself and my sister to Melbourne to leave my sister there. It still haunts me to this day….

    I’m starting to ramble so will finish this posting…hope all is going well for you and your family.

  2. Rachel K. Greenbaum says:

    A well deserved award and accolade! Yasher Koach! You are indeed a true representative of all that is good in the world and in Judaism. We feel proud and grateful to cunt you among our friends.

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