UN International Women’s Day 2015

The Hon Jillian Skinner MP NSW Minister for Health
The Hon Jillian Skinner MP
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Logo
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

UN International Women’s Day Seminar – CEDAW 2015 March 8 was celebrated for the 5th year in State Parliament House Sydney on Monday 9th March this year with our Parliamentary sponsorMinister for Health The Hon Jillian Skinner MP opening the SeminarĀ  immediately after Acknowledgement to Country by Indigenous speaker Robyn Carroll from Mulla Walla Family & Community Support at Woolloomooloo.

 

Robyn Carrol
Robyn Carrol
Pam Lemoine
Pam Lemoine
Valerie Weeks
Valerie Weeks

Pamela Lemoine UNAANSW member read out the message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to UNIWDay. Valerie Weeks, Co-Convenor of UNIWD and past President of co-sponsor of the event UNAANSW spoke on the History of Women in Australia.

Robyn Carrol and Affie Adagio
Robyn Carrol and Affie Adagio

Sue Conde past President of UN Women Australia was to speak on the topic CEDAW Convention for Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Committee for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women which was set up to monitor the progress of the Convention; but unfortunately had to attend a funeral so sent her paper which I spoke to as I was speaking about my experience with attending as one of 22 community representative the UN Conference/Forum for Women Peace and Development in Copenhagen in 1980 when CEDAW was launched to the world and Australia had signed the Convention during the Frasier government.

Jillian Skinner MP -  NSW Minister for Health
Jillian Skinner MP

The same number of women government representatives had also been chosen by the Minister for Home and Women Affairs The Hon Bob Ellicott. Decades later we stillĀ  have a lot to achieve. At that time in the Scandinavian Parliaments there were many women members. We still have women in countries such as USA and Australia not being paid the same as men for the same work! And murder, rape and verbal and physical abuse is still rampant throughout the world however, the Minister advised that the Baird government would ensure a Minister for Domestic Violence as the priority if they are re-instated, that is how serious the situation is.

Robyn Carroll spoke of the history of Walla Mulla Family and Community Support which was created by a nun and is now a vital service to the Indigenous community. Robyn also shared about her struggle in life and we were all so happy for her because she has been awarded the NSW Woman Award for Sydney 2015 in the NSW WOMEN AWARDS 2015 and we presented her with a box of congratulatory chocolates along with her bunch of flowers for being a speaker.

Margaret Conway
Margaret Conway

The next speaker was Margaret Conway from GLAPDGreat Lakes Agency for Peace and Development. Margaret spoke about the Great Lakes of Africa especially women from Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Congo.

Chris Hamer
Chris Hamer

Buddhist Venerable Dr. Tich Minh Tam UNAANSW Committee member brought Professor Chris Hamer UNSW who spoke on the work of Women, Peace and Sustainability. It was rewarding to have full attendance in the Waratah Room and especially that we had for the first time a large contingent of men in the audience.

The Humanist Society of NSW has also been a co-Sponsor of the UNIWDAY for 5 years especially generous with covering costs and Ian Bryce the current President was invited to say a few words.

Mina Batra AM
Mina Batra AM

Mina Batra AM member of the UNAANSW Committee and responsible for the Interfaith Portfolio dressed in a beautiful sari thanked the speakers while Valerie Weeks handed out the final bouquet of pink roses to me not only as a speaker and Convenor/MC but also because the UNIWDAY coincides with my birthday on March 8th. So it was indeed a great day for me.

Waratah Room
Waratah Room

We thank State Parliament House for letting us have the Waratah Room for the venue gratis. We had beautiful croissants and tea and coffee with a platter of fruit and gluten free cupcakes for those who have sensitive stomachs but that was not gratis and that is why we needed to charge for the event.

International Womens Day flowers for speakersMany thanks to Fred Flatow HSNSW member who sat at the door collecting entry monies which covered the expenses of the afternoon tea. We are pleased to announce that serendipitously Fred won the lucky door prize which was a huge heart shaped pink frame for family photos which could be mounted on a wall which he loved and truly deserved!

I would like to finish with mentioning 3 important points: There are two reasons I chose to convene the UNIWD for five years:

  1. To disseminate information about women’s issues
  2. I chose the venue to be State Parliament House Sydney to show that the community especially women have access to Parliament House and gratis.
  3. We have available printed copies of Valerie Weekes’ History of Women in Australia, and Sue Conde’s CEDAW History and the event has been taped and will be on YouTube soon – contact Dr. Affie Adagio <affie@affie.com.au> or 0421 101 163 or (02) 9690 1431 (h)

Visitor weddings

Married, photo by Crystal Leigh Shearin, Rocky Mount, United StatesI promised to let you know why some visitors to Australia come here to get married because it is not possible to marry in their own country. I also wrote that as I was not exactly sure why this was the case I would wait for the next such wedding and then after more research I would let you know the facts. The reason is quite simple really. In a country where there is a main religion, the partner who is not of that religion needs to change to the religion of the land for a marriage to take place in the church. Here in our country inter-religious marriages have become easier in some cases. Back to the case of marriages in countries outside Australia – when a couple wished to have a civil marriage in such a country, red tape can take so long that it becomes thwarting. So couples visit other countries, bring back the formal documentation which is then recognised and registered in their own country.

I conducted a wedding for a couple from overseas where in their country it was
difficult to have a wedding due to his different religion
so once they lodged the notice of intended marriage in the due time
they flew over and I conducted their marriage in the Royal Botanic Gardens
with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge in the background
it was a delight and the photographer took some impressive pictures
he then took them to other attractive scenic spots where
more pictures were taken, finishing off in their hotel lobby
the couple then flew off to Fiji for their honeymoon…
a marriage to remember

Married, photo by Crystal Leigh Shearin, Rocky Mount, United States

PhD Graduation Celebration

Graduation 2, photo by Christopher Rayan, Selangor, MalaysiaLast Saturday I had my PhD Celebration at the Rose Garden Pavilion in the Royal Botanic Gardens between 12.30 and 4.30. Many weddings and other celebrations are held there because it is such an attractive venue with ambiance. There were 61 people and those who wished sat on the comfortable benches around the inside of the Pavilion and others sat outside in the beautiful garden. Everyone commented on this amazing venue. I bought food from Peter’s Cafe – roasts and baked potatoes ready sliced in nice trays. Also delicious foods prepared by my daughter Tina and my daughter-in-law Nella with help from their husbands Bill and Paul. I invited guests to bring their own drinks and desserts so that individual needs could be taken care of personally, without tempting those who don’t drink alcohol and those who don’t eat sweets.

I had intended to provide dance music so that we could let our hair down and indulge in some Greek dancing as well as other dances. However, my equipment didn’t work – drats! The Pavilion has slate flooring which is ideal for dancing. I hired the Pavilion including the nearby toilet for four hours at what I thought was a reasonable fee for such a delightful place.

Well known celebrity Bruce Barry, my dear friend, played the role of MC. Bruce shared about his experience of reading my Doctoral Thesis cover to cover, and in his charming way introduced my University Supervisor and mentor – Dr. Neil Davidson who spoke about our journey together which resulted with my graduation. Neil also read emails from Professor Stuart Hill, the founding Chair for the School of Social Ecology where I began my Uni studies in 1991, and from Debbie Horsfall – my previous Supervisor and mentor. Their kind words warmed my heart. This was followed by another friend, Steve Kirkham, reading out friendly congratulations from Bob and Colleen Ellicott who reminded me of our association which began when he was the Member for Wentworth and I was a Welfare Worker in the Community Centre in Surry Hills over 30 yrs ago. Many constituents benefited from The Hon. Bob Ellicott’s monthly visits.

Community leaders and close friends also expressed their congratulations on Saturday. These were Greek speaking community workers/radio announcers Fay Giallusi, Sophia Catharios and Litsa Diakovasili as well as John August, President of the Humanist Society of NSW.

Finally, my son Paul Zagoridis who spoke on behalf of my daughter Tina and their spouses Nella and Bill respectively and their children (who all struggled along with me on my academic journey). His words filled my heart. The previous day they attended my Graduation and as I looked at them from where I was seated on the stage next to the ‘top brass’ of UWS, I felt honoured and overcome with emotion.

Another delight of the Rose Garden Celebration was having people enter their congratulations in a book chosen for that event in which I have also glued the congratulation cards received. I got home and arranged the flowers which were given to me and opened the remaining gifts. What a delightful day.

Many thanks to all who came to share my celebration. Also my thanks to the printer: MBE who produced my new coloured business card in 3 days when others said it would take 2 weeks and for giving me a discount too.

Click here to download the Affie Adagio PhD Thesis in PDF format

Graduation 2, photo by Christopher Rayan, Selangor, Malaysia

Botanic Gardens weddings

385868_wedding_day_5.jpgMrs. Macquarie’s Chair in the Royal Botanic Gardens is a popular choice for weddings. Such beauty and romance magically touches a wedding. A picture to see under the huge trees with the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background, on glistening harbour waters. A sight to remember, as can be seen in the photo in the celebrant section on this site.Other bridal parties have their ceremonies elsewhere and go there to have the wedding photos in the beautiful surroundings with its ambiance.

they met on a business trip to her country
and it was like being zapped by a bolt of lightening
for many years they lived happily together, then one day
they decided it was time to celebrate their happiness
when they saw the wedding photo with the
Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge
they were convinced that this was the ideal spot
a Botanic Gardens wedding meant romantic memories
both for the wedding party and for those living overseas
who could not travel to Sydney for the celebration

Escapism

Sunset  over New York City 4, photo by Dee Fontenot, New York, United Sates, romantic cityLife can be so stressful that at times it does us good to see some movies that classify as codependent drivel. For women otherwise known as romantic comedies where ‘boy meets girl, they fight, then they end up together and live happily ever after’ and we leave the theatre smiling. This is often called a ‘chick flick’. For men the unbelievable action story where they dodge bullets and explosions and still live through, only to have sex with the perfect female star. As long as we remain aware that these movies are purely a form of escapism, then it is harmless codependent drivel.

my friend, Elizabeth, and I went to the movies
and as we considered which film to see
we spoke of our emotional state
I said I felt like watching something light
perhaps some codependent drivel
and we chuckled thinking about it
to this day I don’t remember what we saw
but I do remember us laughing
and leaving with uplifted spirits

sunset over New York city 4, photo by Dee Fontenot, New York, USA, romantic city

Sleeping to the sound of music

Sound of nature, photo by Daniel Jaeger Vendruscolo, Pato Branco, Brazil, sleeping musicA relaxing activity is to play instrumental peaceful music as you fall asleep. It is vital, though, that the music be gentle and not have words that can instil a contrary message in your subconscious mind. Some songs, although beautiful, have messages of ‘poor abandoned me’ or psych you up with ‘I’m a winner’ and this is not relaxing as you sleep. Also important is that you play music that will finish and not be repeated all night because this may only keep you in a light sleep and not give you the rest you need. The same applies to sleeping with the TV on which can keep your mind busy all night. Then you wonder why you are tired and crotchety during the next day?

as we talked about the tension in their relationship
and what took place on a daily basis
it became apparent that every night they
watched TV in their bedroom
for relaxation of course!
they fell asleep while it was on
as their therapist I suggested that they
try turning the TV off when it was time to sleep
and they could play soft relaxing music instead
they did and the difference in their daytime
behaviour and interaction was noticeably calmer

Sound of nature, photo by Daniel Jaeger Vendruscolo, Pato Branco, Brazil, sleeping music

Time doesn’t have to fly

Savoring time, photo by Tim Nisly, Albuquerque, NM, United States, slowing downPeople say “time flies”. In actual fact we are responsible for how fast time passes. Remember when we were children how long one year seemed like so long? That was because we weren’t in control of our lives, others were – our parents, teachers and so on. As adults we are in charge and we can forget how to stay in ‘the now’ and enjoy just being. Instead we live from gratification to gratification – the next pay cheque, the next outing, the next shopping excursion, the debts being cleared, and many more excuses to be in the tomorrow. Then we are surprised that time flies.

I noticed how quickly Christmas comes and goes
and as I get older it unsettles me
if I am in charge of my life then
I am responsible for how quickly time flies
so I cleared my symbolic plate of
as many commitments that allowed me
to have more relaxation time and
life enjoyment activities
but definitely less busy time!
how amazingly slow the week went
giving me enjoyment and serenity
it’s as simple as that
now I just have to be vigil about
maintaining that pace

Music, flowers and incense

Romantic, photo by Meliha Gojak, Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina,  romantic symbolsWhen you want to lift your spirits then put on music and use some flowers to decorate the room. Then light some incense, there are different ones that please different people. These items will please three of your senses and whether you have a massage and a special something to eat of drink for the other senses depends on how much cheering you need. These are guaranteed to lift your spirits and make you feel special. Mind you, getting someone to share this with you is excellent but not essential, because on your own you prove that this experience has its merits.

It was Melbourne Cup Day and I had to
go to hydrotherapy instead of the usual
Fancy Hat Luncheon and Cup Sweep
my children phoned to say they had got me
Cup Sweep tickets at their workplaces
so I turned on the TV and for ambiance I
prepared the incense and some music
put on my huge black beach hat
and with half a glass of wine I sat
to enjoy my horses coming first
at that point my black cat Midnight flew out
obviously scared of my black hat but
returned immediately and spent the afternoon
poised opposite me on the lounge, staring
I thoroughly enjoyed myself and
one of my horses came third
that was a first for me
in more ways than one
and my spirits were lifted

90 meetings in 90 days

Chairs 1, photo by Anka Draganski,  London United Kingdom, http://www.fofiles.co.uk, 12 Step meetingsRegardless of which addiction we are afflicted with, a trusted and true recovery method has been to go to 90 meetings in 90 days with a willingness to abstain. Just getting to sit in 12 Step meetings, until the message gets through to your subconscious, is the key. As you sit with the feelings that were the reason you needed to self medicate, you own them as being your feelings which releases the fear about them, then you can relax. Relaxation brings us peace in our inner turmoil. The other powerful influence of attending meetings is that when we identify with others’ experiences they model solutions for us and “monkey see monkey do”. If we don’t do 90 in 90 then at least 3 meetings a week are absolutely necessary.

he told his therapist that he was
really pissed off with her because she
set homework for him to attend
7 meetings a week with other tasks
such as writing, reading, walking and
affirmations on a daily basis
a therapist himself, he felt he lived
the program and 1 meeting a week
would be sufficient, however
he surrendered and was amazed
that this meant he had needed to
let go of the control that had been
ruining his recovery
and it worked
a proven remedy

Christmas Day

Christmas Decoration, photo by Law Hui Sheng, PJ, Malaysia, Happy ChristmasIn this country Christmas Day is a ritual that’s a great pleasure to people of all ages. The religious folk attend church and those who are not religious participate in other activities which define the ritual of Christmas, including public holidays. Christmas cards would have already been sent out, a Christmas tree decorated, special food and presents purchased to enjoy on this day. Children wake up early to open their presents which are kept under the tree, including the special ones from Santa Claus. Then still in their nightwear everyone enjoys a breakfast together. People not of the Christian faith, even Christians whose Christmas Day is on 6th January, have been known to also participate in this process as it’s part of Australia’s identity. In time hopefully we will all become more familiar with, and celebrate, rituals of the other cultures which make our society multi-cultural.

some of my grandchildren’s friends are of the Jewish faith
and have been eager to decorate a Christmas tree
therefore next year it was suggested that a
Christmas decorating party be organised to
do just that and give them the experience
how delightful the way that children can
share their cultural differences in a way
that’s full of friendship and fun
an exciting learning curve which
fosters love and peace