A Night at the Ron Castan Young Humanitarian Awards for 2014
Updated: Jan 11
On Wednesday the 15th of October I received a phone call from Gary Samowitz, the CEO of Stand Up. He was proud to inform me that I had won the Ron Castan Young Humanitarian Award for 2014 that Margaret Lowe, one of Gennarosity Abroad’s Board Members, nominated me for.
The Ron Castan Humanitarian Award and the Ron Castan Young Humanitarian Award (for those under 30) seek to recognise Jewish individuals who have attained excellence and renown in their chosen humanitarian fields and whose actions, in addition to their achievements, embody the characteristics of the late Ron Castan that include wisdom, empathy, intellect, and graciousness.
Ron Castan was famously known as a prominent human rights lawyer advocating Indigenous Rights until his death in 1999. I remember learning about the Eddie Mabo case during my Legal Studies classes in Years 11 and 12. I was blown away that the man my award is named after was the senior counsel in the Eddie Mabo case, which abolished the doctrine of terra nullius, “land belonging to no one,” in Australia. The first person who came to mind when learning the links between Ron Castan and the Mabo case was my legal studies teacher and charity Board Member, David Whitcombe. David taught me everything I know about the Mabo case and during my two years with him as a student I established my passion and drive to help advocate human rights for people who don’t have a voice of their own.
On Wednesday the 22nd of October, Margaret and my eldest sister Gabriella accompanied me to the award ceremony held at the Chifley Tower where we overlooked the spectacular views of Sydney. The night was filled with delicious canapé and drinks and the celebration of Ron Castan's life and further acknowledgments of Jewish individuals attaining excellence in their chosen humanitarian fields. I was one of two recipients, the second being Dr Hilton Immerman, the CEO of The Shalom Institute and Master of Shalom College. Shalom College is a not-for-profit organisation, welcoming all students irrespective of race, religion, class, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability. It is fully non-denominational – where the individuality and uniqueness of students are celebrated.
Once again, I would like to thank Stand Up and the wonderful Castan family who I met on the night, for launching these awards and acknowledging individuals who do their part working with humanitarian issues, especially the young under 30 years. It’s an honour and privilege receiving an award named after the late Ron Castan who is famously known for advocating human rights – something I’m very passionate about.
To Margaret Lowe who nominated me – Thank you so much for always believing in me and Gennarosity Abroad, and for always contributing above and beyond what ever is expected. Words really can’t express how grateful I am. To all my family and friends, especially my sister Stephanie, thank you so much for helping with every fundraising event, building the charity website and coming to award nights like tonight showing your never ending love and support. I am blessed to have a family and network of friends who believe in my dreams and much as I do. I honestly couldn’t have accomplished any of this without you, so thank you.
Nominations for next year’s Ron Castan Humanitarian Award are now open, so if you know anyone who is deserving of this amazing honour, please click here to fill out a registration form, and we wish you all good luck!