The story of Australia is inseparable from the story of migration itselfAustralia is often described as a nation of migrants. Apart from First Australians - our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities - our population has its origins in a uniquely diverse mix of other lands and cultures. The story of Australia is inseparable from the story of migration itself, a tale that marries despair with hope, struggle with opportunity, and oppression with freedom.
In their search for a new life in a better place, Australia’s migrants have given so much more to their new home than they’ve received. Despite an enormous diversity in language, culture and beliefs, there is a commonality amongst
all that have settled on this land: an inspiring determination to succeed, an entrepreneurial work ethic, and an unblemished optimism and belief in the moral value of a ‘fair go’.
Global fintech TransferWise was inspired to create a photographic exhibition to celebrate the achievements of Australian migrants and their incredible journeys.
The exhibition, ‘Faces of Australia’ - a portfolio of 20 curated images by photographer Kurt Tilse, displayed in the ground foyers of International Towers, Tower Two and Tower Three - inspired a panel discussion event, held to give a
voice to some of the individuals featured in the exhibition.
Opening the event, Liam Timms, Fund Manager for International Towers Sydney, stressed the importance of providing a platform to support the diverse networks in Australia, such as through the exhibition and its ensuing spotlight on the importance of diversity.
“One person doesn’t do anything alone, corporate Australia has a big role to play. At International Towers, we are proud of the rich fabric of our community,” Mr Timms said.
Co-founder of TransferWise, Taavet Hinrikus said, “We believe being Australian is more about recognising where and who we are now and where we hope to go, as much as where we’ve come from.”
International Towers General Manager Tony Byrne said the inspiring exhibition was as much about the stories and storytelling as it was about the exquisitely-shot images.
“Diversity, in its truest word, means acknowledging all forms of background and identity. At International Towers, we are committed to celebrating the heritage, beliefs and values of our diverse workforce and visitor base. We are proud to host this exhibition which shows on a macro level the contribution migrants make to Australia and, on a micro level, the diversity of our own thriving business community,” Mr Byrne said. Many of the other exhibition subjects attended and shared how they were able to achieve their dreams, drawing on support such as startup incubator Catalysr. Since its launch in 2016, Catalysr has helped 66 “migrapreneurs” start more than 15 successful businesses. Its professional community has more than 500 advisors and investors, who help these migrapreneurs with advice, support and forming valuable business connections.
Catalysr “graduate” Walid El Sabbagh founded vegan, Egyptian eatery Koshari Korner. He arrived from Egypt in 2015 with experience as a marine engineer but couldn’t find work in his field. The change of course gave him a change to bring a piece of Egypt to Sydney.
Faces of Australia is proudly being exhibited at International Towers throughout summer 2018 /2019.