Victoria University's Elleni Bereded-Samuel has been recognised as a Living Legend 2012, and one of the hundred most influential African Australians at an award ceremony held at the Sydney Opera House.
The aim of Celebration of African Australians Inc (Celebrate) is to showcase the contributions of African Australians to the country's collective growth and prosperity.
Elleni said on receiving the award, "It is very humbling to be recognised for work that I love doing. My first job in Australia was as a TAFE teacher and cultural support officer where I set up bridging programs preparing Horn of Africa refugees for work and further study."
Elleni had already worked as a journalist and teacher in Ethiopia but needed further qualifications in her migrant and refugee work, so she enrolled in postgraduate study in counselling at VU. She is now the University's Community Engagement Advisor and Coordinator in the Office for Knowledge Exchange.
Her dynamic leadership abilities have led to new solutions for her local community to better participate in society. She has worked with several migrant and refugee groups as well as Africans, and can name more than thirty people whom she has helped get permanent jobs.
Elleni's achievements are many and varied and centre on her desire to improve people's lives.
For six years she was on the Board of Directors of the Royal Women's Hospital and chaired the Community Advisory Committee. For three years she was an inaugural member of the Australian Social Inclusion Board. From 2005-2011 she served as the first African Australian Commissioner on the Victorian Multicultural Commission.
Elleni was recently appointed to the Western Health Board of Directors and as Chair of the Western Health Cultural Diversity and Community Advisory Committee. She currently sits on the SBS Board of Directors.
She received the Victoria's Premier Award for Excellence in Multicultural Affairs – Education, and Prime Minister's International Year of Volunteers Award and her name has been included on the Victorian Honour Roll of Women. In 2008 Elleni won the Diversity@Work Individual Champion Award for Diversity and Inclusion for her outstanding engagement with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities in Australia.
This year, the Hon. Julia Gillard PM congratulated and recognised her as one of the forty Australians selected as the new People of Australia Ambassadors. The new ambassadors are able to provide advice to government on issues concerning the Australian community.
Elleni Bereded-Samuel is available for interview: 9919 4928 firstname.lastname@example.org
Public Affairs Unit, Victoria University,
9919 4322; 0434 602884; email@example.com