Lions Club of Sydney Indian honours Prof Veena Sahajwalla and Dr GK Harinath
In a glittering ceremony on 11 October at the Macquarie room of the NSW Parliament, the Lions Club of Sydney Indian conferred an award of excellence for the highest level of professional achievement and community service to Prof Veena Sahajwalla and Dr GK (Hari) Harinath respectively.
Hon Mr Ray Williams, Minister for Multiculturalism and Minster for Disability Services (representing the Premier NSW Hon. Gladys Berejiklian) handed over the award plaques to the awardees. The club’s president Dr Rohitas Batta presented the Lions plaque to Minister Williams in acknowledgement of his consistent support in advancing multiculturalism in Australia and also particularly assisting the Lions.
Dr Batta also spoke about the several projects and achievements of the club mainly in health and wellbeing from its inception in 2015.
Prof Sahajwalla, who was named one of Australia’s most innovative engineers by Engineers Australia in 2016 and in 2017, and was awarded the Jubilee Professorship by the Indian Academy of Sciences, was introduced by Lion Shruti Gupta.
She was recognized at the October event for her immense contribution to the environmental sustainability in manufacturing. “The disruptive green technologies that she has patented can transform waste almost anywhere it is stockpiled,” said Ms Gupta.
Professor Sahajwalla, who was also the keynote speaker, explained her research on revolutionising recycling science and of the next industrial revolution centred on disruptive green technologies. She also gave a short overview of a micro factory, its local and global impact, and about UNSW’s Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) founded by her. “The world’s landfills are packed with useful materials like carbon, hydrogen, silica, titania and various oxides, which our industries usually source from virgin resources. Much of the vast wealth of resources embedded in waste cannot be easily recovered using conventional recycling methods, because of the increasing complexity of the products and materials we throw away,” said Prof Sahajwala, adding that UNSW’s micro-factory technology offers new opportunities to generate income from waste and to create local jobs, while delivering local and global environmental benefits.
Dr Harinath, OAM, has been the Chair of Multicultural NSW Advisory Board since September 2014. Also the Chairman of Parramasala, he has been a long-time leader within the Indian Australian community. A well-respected general practitioner for over 35 years, serving the community in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and being a Managing Partner of the East Garden Medical Centre, he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2009 for service to cricket and the community. “I have always cherished working for and with the community,” said Dr Harinath, upon receiving the award.
The Lions showcased their ‘We Serve’ motto and community engagement for great causes. At the event, speakers highlighted topics such as multiculturalism, ethnic community cross-working cohesively without any barriers, environmental sustainability in manufacturing, waste reduction, recycling, innovation, motivation, and spiritual outlook in personal development, while also bringing to the fore some of the key programs of the Lions Club such as the measles awareness program spearheaded by the Lions Clubs International Foundation, networking with ministers, parliamentarians, Councillors and guests.
In spite of the Parliament in session in progress Minister Williams made the time to speak to the audience, reminding them that Australia is the most prominent multicultural society in the world that we all can be proud of it but still need to work continuously to perfect it.
Hon David Elliot, Minister for Counter Terrorism, Minister for Corrections and Minister for Veterans Affairs congratulated the Lions Club of Sydney Indian in holding this event and also for the exemplary work it carries out in the service of the community.
Also present were parliamentarians including Mr. Scott Farlow, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, Mr Stephen Bromehead, MP and President of Parliamentary Lions Club and Ms Jodie McKay, MP. The speakers applauded the role Lions Club of Sydney Indian plays in harmonising and channelling energy into productive projects and wished the office bearers to succeed in their aims of higher aspirations of serving the community.
The Lions District Governor Ron Gattone spoke about the work the Lions carry out throughout the world with the support of 1.4 million members across more than 200 countries and geographic areas.