United Nations Day : The Core of Humanity is Supporting Human Decency and Peace

By Dr Renée Ralph, Co-Founder, The Brilliant Foundation


PERTH, Western Australia - Over 150 individuals attended the 77th United Nations Gala 2022 led by former President, Dr Sandy Chong; Chair, Dr Nau Zhang, Executive Committee, professional and student volunteers last Friday evening.


Photo credit : Dr Renée Ralph

Left to Right : Randhir Amoganathan, Sally Dawkins, Dr Sandy Chong, Craig Challen SC OAM

Video credit : Dr Renée Ralph - Aunty Kerri Anne from Nyunar Tours for the welcome to Country


The evening started with Aunty Kerri-Ann Winmar presenting the Welcome to Country. She sang and yarned of her ancestors, who were the first astronomers, the first farmers and the first scientists. The First Nations culture rich in tradition that lasts for over 70,000 years.

Credit : Dr Renée Ralph


Dr Sandy Chong completed her three-year term as President of United Nations Association of Australia (UNAAWA), Western Australia Division. Under her helm as leader, Sandy initiated the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Forum with Ernst and Young as Sponsor(s). West Coast Eagles is the first Australian elite sporting club that included the UN SDGs as their benchmark in sporting standards. The video clip below signifies West Coast champion inclusion in sport that was launched today to coincide with United Nations Day, 24 October.


https://youtu.be/ClbUj49ct9U

The local council in Nedlands as well embraced the UN SDGs to develop and establish a sustainable living footprint for their residents. On Wednesday 28 September, the City of Nedlands signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UN, becoming a signatory to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Credit : Nedlands Post


Newly elected President of UNAAWA, Mr Randhir Amoganathan stated that he will continue to support the 'flame' that Sandy has passed on to him. Randhir completed his Law degree in 1992 in United Kingdom, with an MBA in 1993 at Keele University and an MSC (Econs) from the London School of Economics in 1994. He specialised in software contracts management in UK and was an In-House Legal Counsel in Singapore. Migrating to Australia in 2008, he was admitted to the Supreme Court of Western Australia, the High Court of Australia and the High Court of New Zealand. He established Obvia Legal in 2018.


Photo credit : Dr Renée Ralph

Left to Right : Randhir Amoganathan, Sally Dawkins, Dr Sandy Chong, Craig Challen SC OAM


Guest speaker Sally Dawkins speech resonated with the guests that evening as she shares Australia commitment to the United Nations (UN).


She commenced as Director, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in January 2022. In this role, Sally leads the Department's engagement with its diverse stakeholders in Western Australia, including government, business, academia and the community.


Sally has served overseas with the Department in Geneva (representing Australia at the United Nations Human Rights Council and General Assembly), Paris, West Africa and most recently in Ankara, as Deputy Head of Mission at the Australian Embassy in Turkey. Sally has also worked as an Adviser to the Minister for International Development and the Pacific.


In 2017-19, Sally managed government relations and social investment for Newcrest Mining in Papua New Guinea, based in Port Moresby. Sally graduated with Honours in Bachelors of Laws and Arts from the University of Western Australia, and is an admitted solicitor. She speaks fluent French.


She stated: "Since 1946, Australia is a Founding Member of the UN, Australia has been committed in sending peacekeeping troops in Indonesia.


Currently, Australia has 800 Australians who are employed in the UN and Australia are committed to the vision of UN. Statistically, Australia ranks 12th in the world as we have the largest peacekeeping budget in the global community. The effort to support the UN is to stabilise and support nations who desire sovereign choices so that they have an equal voice in the international landscape."


Standards and benchmarks such as World Health Organisation (WHO), International Labour Organisation (ILO) and ASEAN, APEC help to improve fair trade, economy and embrace multiculturalism.


Sally said: "Australia has over 75 years of commitment to the UN and the aim is to have a seat in the security council by 2029-2030. It is a wake-up call to the human race, that Russia’s invasion to Ukraine cannot be normalised.”
“Our Global Human Index has declined for two years in a row. An estimate of 800 million go to bed hungry every night”, says Ms Sally Dawkins.

Sally emphasised the need to work together. She said: “We must talk, work, listen to each other.”


"Reconciliation is fundamental to maintaining peace and security internationally, respecting human rights and promoting equality, dignity and self-determination. Australia is committed to providing opportunities to assist indigenous peoples – both in Australia and overseas – to overcome social and economic disadvantage.


Australia plays an active role in the United Nations systems. We have played an important role in the establishment of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Australians have served as both governmental and non-governmental members. We support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and continue to give practical effect to the UNDRIP.


In September 2014, Australia proudly supported the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, and welcomed the World Conference Outcome Document.


In August 2015, the Department released its Indigenous Peoples Strategy which provides a framework to work collaboratively with Australia Indigenous peoples, communities and businesses, to advance and promote the wellbeing of Indigenous peoples around the world."


Sally is also heartened and proud that the First Nations perspective is in the heart of Australian National Policy. She shares the international diplomatic policy that exist between our Australian First Nations Peoples that have flown to Botswana to help with bush fire management. It is a huge step in the right direction for our First Nations Peoples where diplomatic ties are achieved in a global stage.

Photo byline : International Savanna Fire Management Initiative (ISFMI) is taking the fire management techniques of Indigenous northern Australians to the world through reinvigorating traditional fire management in Botswana, and promoting the approach in other countries in Southern Africa and around the world.


Sally shares that Indonesia will be the incoming ASEAN Chair and is part of the Connect Trade today. She believes that the global community has the staying power to create a world that is peaceful and respectful of sovereignty.


Photo credit : Dr Renée Ralph

Craig Challen SC OAM flocked by his fans at UN 77th Gala, Pan Pacific.

Craig Challen, 2019 Australian of the Year is an Australian veterinarian, businessman, adventurer, pilot and cave diver. In July 2018 he participated in the Tham Luang cave rescue in northern Thailand, in which 13 people were rescued after 17 days trapped over two kilometres inside a cave by flood waters. On 24 July 2018, Challen was awarded the Star of Courage (SC) and Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) by the Governor-General of Australia for his role in the rescue. On 7 September 2018 the King of Thailand appointed Challen as a Knight Grand Cross (First Class) of the Most Admirable Order. For their part in the rescue, he and his long-standing dive partner, Richard Harris, were jointly named 2019 Australians of the Year.


AFP divers enter the cave on 7 July to support the Royal Thai Navy in preparation for the rescue operation. Credit: AFP


Craig Challen shared that the rescue were supported by 30 nations. He stated that the boys were the heroes and the rescue team were confronted with their mortality, and the full expectation of casualties.


"It was a choice that the rescue team had to make as it will take 5 months for cave to dry up."


"The miracle is all the 13 boys survived."


Applause broke out as guests were hanging on to what Craig has to share.


Craig said: “The admirable attitude by the Thai boys. No tears or trembling lips. They were so brave.”

AFP divers walk down to the water at the mouth of the cave where the 12 boys and their soccer coach are stranded. Credit: AFP


Credit : Facebook


“It is a pretty good example where there is the manifestation of human nature, the - in group - support from your tribe in Savanna - and the competing interests that's impacting yours.”


"Society is more complex, our biology to embrace humanity as one is the only way forward for society to function even though concept is romantic."

Craig said:“ The differences of humans are constructed. The fabrication of differences such as Good Friday in Ireland is one example. There’s also the support of a football team - exclusion – the identification of in group - everything outside that group.”


He has been asked many times - Did those boys behave differently if they were Australians?


Craig shared: “The Thai boys came from a different background and they came from a hill tribe from Thailand or Myanmar. People may manifest differences. I have met with a lot of different people through my travels abroad. People are exactly the same. They get on with their lives, to feed the family and get an education. These children were prepared to do everything to survive. We can learn from them.”

Winners of United Nations Day Awards in the following categories were:

John Acieck, Human Rights

Tanya Langford, Gender Equality

WA Forrest Alliance, Environment and Sustainable Development Goals


The Students Doing Good Challenge operationalises the United Nations SDGs across WA Universities and UN PRME (Principles of Responsible Management Education).


The Challenge invites local and international students form Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University and University of Western Australia to collaborate and work in multidisciplinary, across-University teams to develop a 5-minute pitch for a strategic innovation linked to an SDG.


This year’s winning team involved two Edith Cowan University students from the Sri Lanka campus: Hashini Perera and Tiasha Muller who submitted a pitch to tackle SDG 2. More specifically, their Agri Connect pitch presented an integrated sustainable farming information network for farmers in Sri Lanka.


The Brilliant Foundation is a recognised community partner of UNAAWA. Co-Founders and Founding Members attended the UN Gala Day to support our global community as one.


Photo credit : Dr Renée Ralph

Left to Right: Alexander Circosta, Josh Galvin, Dr Sandy Chong, Dr Renée Ralph, Dr Vanessa Atienza-Hipolito


The Brilliant Foundation members left to right: Alexander Circosta, Dr Vanessa Atienza-Hipolito, Craig Challen SC OAM, Dr Renee Ralph, Josh Galvin


The Brilliant Foundation Members with Ms Sally Dawkins, Director, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)


First Indigenous woman Dorinda Cox representing Federal Government