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This week, the Governor and Mr Howard met with representatives from a range of sectors including the creative arts, community organisations and international delegations.


On Tuesday, the Governor and Mr Howard attended the Albanian Australian Islamic Society Mosque (AAIS), Melbourne's first Mosque. The visit was just one example of the ongoing relationship between Government House and the Victorian Muslim Community. The Governor and Mr Howard recently attended the Victorian Mosque Open Day, run by the Islamic Council of Victoria, where the Governor celebrated Victoria’s multiculturalism and thanked organisers for creating an event that strengthens community cohesion and understanding. Read the Governor’s speech here. During the visit to the AAIS, the Governor and Mr Howard toured the Mosque, receiving a briefing on its history and the religious services offered. They learned about Albanian cultural traditions, and were presented with the 50th Anniversary book. The visit also provided an opportunity for the Governor and Mr Howard to send their best wishes to the members of the Mosque, and to all Victorians of Islamic faith at the commencement of Ramadan.

The Governor and Mr Howard also farewelled Term 1 participants of the Peace and Prosperity Kitchen Garden Program this week, a program connecting and supporting women of migrant and refugee backgrounds. The first term of this year had over 20 participants from many varied backgrounds, faiths and nations. The farewell event was an opportunity to hear from participants about their experience of the program, friendships made, and the many learnings gained over the last six weeks. 

On Wednesday, the Governor and Mr Howard attended the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala. Launched in 1987, the festival is one of the three largest comedy festivals in the world, alongside Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival. The Gala featured several notable comedians including Luke McGregor, Alex Ward and Tommy Little. Learn more about the festival and its 2023 program here.  

Supporting the creative industries remains an important priority for the Governor. This week, the Governor visited the Arts Project Australia Northcote Studio. Arts Project Australia is a creative social enterprise working with artists with intellectual disabilities, promoting their work and advocating for their inclusion in contemporary art practice. It was the first full-time arts studio in Australia, designed for artists with an intellectual disability, and has built a reputation both in Australia and abroad. During the visit, the Governor was given a tour of the studio before participating in a portrait sitting for resident artists. Learn more about Arts Project Australia and its artists here. 

International engagement was another focus of this week’s program. On Friday, the Governor first received the call of Mr Arif Eser Torun, Consul-General of Türkiye. The call was an opportunity to hear more about the ongoing challenges caused by recent earthquakes in south-eastern Türkiye and the experiences of Turkish Victorians with family in Türkiye. Later in the day, the Governor received the call of Mr Stephen Lysaght, Consul-General of the United Kingdom. The Governor has recently hosted other important representatives from the United Kingdom including Her Excellency, Vicki Treadell CMG CVO, High Commissioner for the United Kingdom in Australia, as well as the Right Honourable Nicholas Lyons, Lord Mayor of the City of London. Together, these meetings have strengthened the ongoing relationship between Victoria and the United Kingdom.  

On Friday, the Governor and Mr Howard attended Diabetes Victoria’s 70th Anniversary Luncheon. Established in 1953, Diabetes Victoria is the leading charity and peak consumer body, working to reduce the impact of diabetes. The organisation plays a vital role in supporting more than 350,000 Victorians living with Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes. The Governor is the Patron of Diabetes Victoria. Speaking at the event, Mr Howard congratulated Diabetes Victoria and thanked the organisation for their work in amplifying the voices of people living with diabetes in the Victorian community. Learn more about the impact of Diabetes Victoria’s work here.

Throughout the week, the Governor was delighted to receive the call of Associate Professor Tamson Pietsch, Associate Professor of the Social and Political Science Program at the University of Technology Sydney, and former aide to Governor John Landy AC CVO MBE; Mr James Elder, UNICEF Global Spokesperson; and Mr Jim Miller, Chair, and Dr Johnathan Spear, CEO of Infrastructure Victoria. The Governor also welcomed Rhodes Scholar, Connor Rochford and his partner, Sarah Dobbie, to Government House. The visit was an opportunity to hear more about Mr Rochford’s career since graduating from the University of Oxford.