Veena appointed 2021 Australia Day Ambassador

Director of the UNSW SMaRT Centre, Professor Veena Sahajwalla has been appointed a 2021 Australia Day Ambassador.

The NSW Government announced the NSW Australia Day Ambassador program has grown from strength to strength with more than 100 remarkable Australians volunteering to participate in Australia Day 2021 activities around the state.

Despite the pandemic, many of the Australia Day Ambassadors will continue to celebrate Australia Day in local communities across the state in COVID-Safe ways. Others will, for the first time, connect with their host communities virtually for Australia Day events, showing their commitment to the program.

As reported in the Riverina's The Daily Advertiser, first-time ambassador, and internationally recognised sustainable material research scientist, Veena is heading to Coolamon.

Prof Sahajwalla, who was born in Mumbai, gained her PhD in the US, and became an Australian citizen in the 1990s.

She said she is looking forward to visiting the Riverina town for the first time.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to be a new Ambassador," Prof Sahajwalla said.

"I want to chat to the community, hear what they are passionate about, what their concerns are. I'm excited to share stories."

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NSW Australia Day Council chairman, Andrew Parker, said the program is truly remarkable and unique, and this year's group are determined to gather with communities despite the pandemic.

"Marking Australia Day 2021 may be different due to COVID-19, yet the day more than ever before is about inspiring and unifying the community, which is why the Ambassador Program is as vital this year as ever," he said.

"It is a time to reflect, respect and celebrate the Australian spirit.

"This year's impressive list of Ambassadors is diverse and dynamic. All our Ambassadors share common traits of achievement through hard work, talent and a strong sense of community."

Mr Parker said the program aims to spread the message of national pride and inclusion, whether it's in cities, regions or remote country towns.

"I would like to thank our Ambassadors for volunteering their time and sharing their stories and also the more than 100 councils that continue to hold Australia Day activities for their community and adapting with some holding virtual events," he said.

  • Coolamon: Veena Sahajwalla (Inventor)
  • Griffith City Council: Keith Potger (Founding member of The Seekers)
  • Junee Shire Council: Yianni Johns (Artist)
  • Leeton Shire Council: Donna Ciccia (Co-founder Endometriosis Australia)
  • Murray River Council: Ron Delezio (Co-founder and Co-director of Day of Difference Foundation)
  • Murrumbidgee Council: Mark Warren (Commentator)
  • Narrandera Shire Council: Sarah Garnett (Founder of the Benjamin Andrew Footpath Library)
  • Snowy Monaro Regional Council: Susanne Gervay (Children's Author)
  • Snowy Valleys Council: Peter Wilkins (Former TV Presenter and Sports Commentator)
  • Wagga City Council: Stan Grant (Wiradjuri Elder and Local Ambassador for Wagga City Council)