Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

Philippine Ambassador meets with the Dunedin Muti-Ethnic Council

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Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez accompanied by Minister and Consul General Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa was warmly welcomed by Executive Committee of the Dunedin Multi-Ethnic Council (DMEC), namely Ms. Afife Harris, Mr. Mouhannad Taha, Ms. Sareh Abdie, Ms. Lina Lastra, Ms. Sanny Young and Ms. Nilay Baycar on 13 February 2015.

Discussions focused on the work of the DMEC which is to connect people of all cultures residing in Dunedin. The DMEC has no political or religious affiliations and is governed by a committee made up of volunteers, elected annually at its Annual General Meeting (AGM). Funding for its activities comes mainly from community grants. The DMEC promotes goodwill, tolerance, and understanding amongst people of diverse cultures in Dunedin and supports cultures, languages and heritage through education, festivals and communication. Ms. Afife Harris shared with Ambassador Benavidez that the DMEC has been in the forefront of building a deep appreciation of the diversity in the Dunedin community. It has created opportunities for the local people to connect with migrant communities and foster understanding and appreciation of the differences among the communities through sports and cultural activities that showcase each community’s culture and traditions.

Ambassador Benavidez said that Dunedin is blessed to have an active DMEC that is highly regarded by local migrants and the wider community. She thanked Ms. Harris and the other members of the DMEC Executive Committee for a fruitful meeting and looks forward to future exchanges and collaborations regarding the Embassy’s continuing and priority efforts to connect the people of Dunedin with the Filipino community as they contribute to the multicultural enrichment of New Zealand.

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