Multicultural Arts Victoria announces new chair Mr George Lekakis AO

George Lekakis

Mr George Lekakis AO

Multicultural Arts Victoria held a successful Annual General Meeting last night attended by over 100 members, artists and supporters. It was announced by retiring Chair Mr Stefan Romaniw OAM, he would be handing the reigns over to Mr George Lekakis AO. A copy of the article may be downloaded by clicking on: Multicultural Arts Victoria Announces New Chair Mr George Lekakis AO

The AGM was attended by Patrons, former Premier of Victoria Hon John Cain and wife Nancye and Jason Yeap OAM. Other VIPs in attendance were VMC Chair Helen Kapalos and VMC Commissioners, ECCV Chair Eddie Micallef and members of ECCV Board, Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality DPCD Rowena Allen, MAV Founding Chair Mike Zafiropoulos AM and former Minister for Multicultural Affairs Hon John Pandazopoulos. 

Mr Martin Foley Minister for Creative Industries, Minister For Housing, Disability and Ageing, Minister For Mental Health and Minister For Equality was the invited guest speaker. He acknowledged the importance of MAV’s work instimulating diverse creativity in the state of Victoria and the dedication of retiring Board Members, Mr Stefan Romaniw OAM 15 years of service including 10 years as Chairman, Natalia Moravski Deputy Chair 25 years of service, Marcello D’Amico 20 years of service and Kay Nattrass 6 years of service. 

The new elected Board Members are: George Lekakis AO, Miriam Suss OAM, Michael Van Vliet (3 years appointment), Judith Klepner (2 years appointment), Co-opted members Bayarkhuu Purevdorj, Dr Brad Potter and Symon Kohut. They join current MAV Board of Management: Dr Geraldine Kennett, Cheri Ong, David Wright, Hilary Bucumi and Katie McLeish. 

The Chair of the House of World Cultures Dr Geraldine Kennett presented an overview of the feasibility study for the HoWC.

The vision for MAV’s HoWC is for a world renowned symbolic and creative cultural place where all cultures are welcome to express, share, participate and learn.


In 2015/2016 through the Creative Industries portfolio, State budget funds were committed to undertake a feasibility study to explore the viability of a House of World Cultures (HoWC) as a cultural tourism landmark and the possibility of locating it on Princes Pier in Port Melbourne.

Roots Projects Australia, Creative Economy, WT Partnership and Village Well were commissioned to undertake the feasibility report. A project steering group was established with representation and input from Creative Victoria and Major Projects Victoria.

The focus of the study was essentially in two parts:

1: the feasibility of a HoWC in Melbourne (investigating Princes Pier and alternative sites: The St Kilda Triangle, Meat Market Melbourne and the Tote proposed development)
2: the feasibility, cost and operational model of a specific HoWC implementation on the Pier at Beacon Cove

Summary of the Findings.                        Diversity is one of Victoria’s greatest assets and strengths. The HoWC would assist in building Victoria’s international reputation as a cosmopolitan, vibrant and welcoming multicultural and multi-faith society and will address the lack of equitable cultural participation that is currently not reflective of the Victorian community.

In the current global climate this is critical more than ever – a sense of place and belonging for all Australians is a priority and worth investing in for the future of our community. A symbolic place is needed to encourage creative cross cultural activity and lively discourse on what it is to be Australian.

The HoWC would facilitate a deep sense of community identity and social cohesion by celebrating cultural diversity and providing opportunities for collaborative creative expression.

It was identified in the Feasibility Study the cultural, social and economic development of Victoria’s growing multi-lingual, multi-faith population would be significantly enhanced by a HoWC in Melbourne.

Princes Pier site.                 The waterfront and Princes Pier are a remarkable part of Melbourne. Princes Pier in its 90 year lifespan has played a key role in Australia’s maritime, wartime and multicultural history. The future of this historic landmark was secured with the state government’s investment of $34 million into the site’s restoration. The pier is now a functional and versatile site with immense cultural significance and potential.

Celebrating cultural diversity, honouring our traditions, encouraging creative contemporary expressions and engaging in dialogue on contemporary issues are key to making this space a dynamic destination in its own right.

Opportunity.            A HoWC would provide significant opportunities for participation of culturally and linguistically diverse artists and arts workers in the creative and tourism industries in Victoria, ultimately leading to a harmonious community that respects cultural diversity in Victoria and celebrates who we are as Australians.

Importantly, local, interstate and international visitors will be compelled in new ways to experience local culture and stories. A HoWC would engage diverse audiences and create new and innovative work forming the foundation of Victoria’s dynamic and vibrant creative industries.

Stakeholders involved in the feasibility study believe Multicultural Arts Victoria is the best placed organization to manage the HoWC. For over four decades MAV has been a key driver of multiculturalism and the peak body that supports culturally and linguistically diverse individuals and communities to maximise their cultural artistic potential. The organisation opens up new opportunities and pathways for artists and communities that do not normally have access to the arts and support through mainstream channels.

Summary.                 Facilitating a deep sense of community identity and social cohesion is important for improved community well-being as well as greater opportunities through the creative industries for economic and social growth.

Princes Pier (HoWC) can become a significant and celebrated part of Melbourne a dynamic destination in its own right. Celebrating cultural diversity, honouring our traditions and encouraging creative and contemporary expressions are key to this vision. The House of World Cultures would provide the State with the opportunity to align, promote and celebrate the UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expression.

Read the House of World Cultures Feasibility Study Report (Appendices 1-4: MAV Focus Group Feedback, Letters of Support, History of Princes Pier, Indicative Program; Appendix 5: Retail strategy; Appendix 6: architectural concept; Appendices 7-8: indicative order of costs and cashflow) endorsed by the Board of Multicultural Arts Victoria for the development of a House of World Cultures in Melbourne, Victoria.


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