Awarded the 2021 Promotion of Multiculturalism Award - John Thuy
Nominated by: Australian Vietnamese Arts Inc.
John came to Australia from Vietnam as a Colombo Plan Student in 1970. After a long career in electrical engineering, in 2010 John actively engaged in arts and cultural matters, volunteering to promote multicultural and social connections among Vietnamese seniors in many organisations across Melbourne and overseas.
Community programs and events
John has been tirelessly organising community programs that help seniors build social connection, self confidence and friendship, using traditional Vietnamese arts & culture as a vehicle. Together with healthy and active aging programs such as healthy eating, gambling harm prevention, chess, chronic illness awareness, singing and dancing, John is always thinking of new ways to bring people together to reduce social isolation, support local artists and showcase Vietnamese arts and culture.
Over the years, many large cultural expos and festivals that John organised have spread from east to west, north to south of Melbourne, including a cultural entertainment for inmates at Deer Park prison and in 2020 set up weekly Zoom singing get-togethers during COVID-19 lockdowns. For physical exercise, John has been a keen member of the East Burwood Tennis Club and helped it with funding acquisitions and Zoom meetings. John has also been a member of the Boroondara Writers’ Club in Hawthorn, writing his life stories in both languages.
John has helped many not-for-profit organisations secure grants to make things happen to achieve a positive impact on Vietnamese seniors and disadvantaged women who are culturally and linguistically diverse. John is also keen to involve emerging minority cultures such as African, Nepalese, Cambodian, Japanese and Chinese communities in programs and events.
Raising awareness and supporting recovery
Over the past few months, John has turned his growing video skills towards producing a video for the pop-up vaccination centre at South Eastern Melbourne Vietnamese Associations’ Council in Springvale South to encourage vaccination. John has also been applying for funding to improve community facilities and ensure their adequate re-opening.
John’s achievements are at the core of what the promotion of multiculturalism means: enhancing the feeling of belonging, sharing appreciation of different cultures, improving inclusion and social harmony between groups of different gender, age and culture.
Read more about the Victorian Senior of the Year Awards.