Event Recap | Hawker Ball

MELBOURNE 3 October 2019

Over 400 special guests, including the Victorian Premier The Hon. Daniel Andrews MP, came together at the spectacular Great Hall of the National Gallery of Victoria for a gala event, officially opening the new Asia Society Australia Centre, based in Melbourne.

Attendees spanned the breadth of the Australian community, representing business, higher education, government, art and culture, media, sports, and youth dialogues. Guests included diplomatic representatives from China, Indonesia, Japan, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, United States and New Zealand, as well as Australia's incoming Ambassador to the United Nations the Hon. Mitch Fifield, Victorian opposition leader the Hon. Michael O'Brien MP, and members of Commonwealth and State Parliament.

Hosted by Bloomberg anchor Haidi Stroud-Watts, the black tie event celebrated the personal Asia-Australia stories which are at the heart of the relationship between nations across the region. After a stunning sung Acknowledgement of Country by Artistic Director of Short Black Opera Deborah Cheetham AO, Premier of Victoria the Hon. Daniel Andrews delivered a keynote address stressing the continuing importance of Asia engagement to Melbourne and the State of Victoria. 

A series of moving personal stories followed, with Australian High Commissioner to India, Her Excellency Harinder Sidhu, sharing the inspirational story of opportunity that led her to become Australia's representative in India. Artistic Director of Suara Indonesia Dance Alfira O'Sullivan spoke of building bridges between cultures around the world through dance. AFLW superstar and Multicultural Ambassador Darcy Vescio cheekily recounted the rediscovery of her Chinese and Italian heritage. And 'Mao's Last Dancer' Li Cunxin AO captivated the hall with his incredible personal journey of hardship and hope. 

Asia Society global was represented by Executive Vice President Tom Nagorski, who delivered remarks and presented a video message from President and CEO Ambassador Josette Sheeran.

Performances came from Suara Indonesia Dance, who wowed the crowd in Federation Court before leading guests into the Great Hall. Members of the globally renowned Melbourne Symphony Orchestra performed a unique percussive piece on terracotta pots. Closing the night, groundbreaking South Western Sydney hip-hop artist and activist L-FRESH the LION delivered a stunning spoken word piece before performing two tracks. 

Asia Society Australia would like to thank the Victorian Government for their support as Co-Hosts of the evening, Tata Group, Tata Consultancy Services and Jaguar Land Rover as Presenting Partners, Swisse and Norton Rose Fulbright as Platinum Partners, RMIT as Education Partner, RA (Restaurant Associates) as Culinary Partner, and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Short Black Opera Company as Cultural Partners. We would also like to thank our Supporters: St. Ali, Bramble & Hedge, and the Australian Super Food Co.


Premier of Victoria Media Release: 'Victoria Standing at the Gateway of Asia'

Full Flickr photo gallery.

Asia Society Australia Centre Launch - Hawker Ball - National Gallery of Victoria - 3 October 2019


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