The Victorian Multicultural Commission is led by 12 Commissioners who advocate the values of the VMC and work directly with the community. As required under the Multicultural Victoria Act 2011, this includes a Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, a Youth Commissioner, a representative of a community organisation and eight other members.

Our Commissioners have a solid understanding of the issues facing ethnic communities and are actively involved in the community, regularly attending events and playing a vital role in assisting networks and liaison between different faith and community groups.

The Commissioners are in constant contact with the Chairperson and meet on a monthly basis to develop strategies and discuss community issues that require action. Commissioners are selected through a competitive interview process then officially appointed by the Governor of Victoria for terms of up to four years.

Current Commissioners:

  • Ms Helen Kapalos - Chairperson
  • Mr Ross (Spiro) Alatsas - Deputy Chairperson
  • Ms Tina Hosseini
  • Dr Sundram Sivamalai
  • Mr Tsebin Tchen
  • Ms Sonia Vignjevic
  • Dr Mimmie Claudine Ngum Chi Watts
  • Mr Sam Almaliki
  • Mr Sisay Dinku
  • Ms Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa
  • Ms Rosaria Zarro
  • Mr Walter Rapoport

 

Ms Helen Kapalos - Chairperson 

Current term - 17 August 2015 – 17 August 2019

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Ms. Helen Kapalos is an accomplished journalist, presenter, executive producer  and filmmaker who has worked for all three commercial television networks and the two public broadcasters in Australia. A proud Greek Australian, Ms. Kapalos is passionate about supporting Victoria’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities and has worked in a number of philanthropic roles prior to joining the VMC, including Director at the Heart Foundation, Director of Federation Square, Ambassador for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, and Ambassador with Community Languages Australia.

 

Commissioners appointed until 30 August 2021:

Rosaria Zarro
Current term - 22 November 2017 – 31 August 2021
First appointed - 22 November 2017

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Ms Zarro has been an educator for the past 17 years, including teaching Italian, Science and History in government schools and, in the last nine years, in cultural organisations. At Museum Victoria, Museo Italiano and the State Library of Victoria, Ms Zarro's role was to produce and deliver education programs based on these cultural organisations’ exhibitions and collections. She has delivered many innovative programs in the Italian language and culture at Melbourne Museum, Immigration Museum and Scienceworks and more recently has coordinated and implemented programs and education resources at Museum Victoria in French, Spanish and Japanese. At Museo Italiano she has project-managed events, exhibitions, school and public programs.


Walter Rapoport
Current term - 22 November 2017 – 31 August 2021
First appointed - 22 November 2017
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Walter Rapoport is an economist who has worked in the manufacturing sector, and has held leadership roles in the Victorian Council of Christians and Jews and the B'nai B'rith Intefaith Relations Committee.

 

Ms Tina Hosseini 

Current term - 27 October 2015 – 31 August 2021
First appointed - 27 October 2015 (Former Youth Commissioner)
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Ms Hosseini is the current Chair of the Red Cross Victorian Youth Advisory Committee and was the Youth Chair of the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia. She is an active member of the Iranian Women’s Association and was also a member of the Multifaith Multicultural Youth Network.

 

Commissioners appointed until 30 August 2019:

Ms Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa (Youth Commissioner)

Current term - 22 November 2017 – 30 August 2019
First appointed - 22 November 2017

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Ms Khalsa is a performer and spoken word artist who works to shine a light on discrimination and create opportunities for other young people from culturally diverse backgrounds. She has been appointed to the VMC as Youth Commissioner.

 

Mr Ross (Spiro) Alatsas - Deputy Chairperson

Current term - 22 November 2017 – 30 August 2019
First appointed - 1 September 2011

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Mr Alatsas has a long and impressive history of involvement in the Greek and wider Victorian communities, having been the General Manager of the Greek Media Group since 1997. He has been involved with various committees and advisory councils promoting Victoria’s cultural diversity, including the Steering Committee for the Asian Football League Asian Cup 2015. Mr Alatsas assisted in the establishment the first 24 hour Chinese Radio station, 3CW and also served as a member of the Business Advisory Council for community television station, C31.

 

Dr Sundram Sivamalai (Community Representative Commissioner)

Current term - 22 November 2017 - 30 August 2019
First appointed - 27 October 2015

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Dr Sivamalai is a current board member of the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) and has been nominated by the ECCV as the Community Representative Commissioner. He has extensive board membership and community and government advisory experience, including as the current Chair of the Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council. Dr Sivamalai has published widely on rural, Indigenous and multicultural capacity building and public health, and is of Indian heritage.

 

Mr Tsebin Tchen
Current term - 27 October 2015 – 30 August 2019
First appointed - 27 October 2015

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Mr Tchen, of Chinese background, has extensive community, public sector and political experience in a Victorian context and has previously served as a Senator for Victoria from 1999 to 2005. Mr Tchen has over 40 years voluntary community involvement, and demonstrated extensive links with community organisations, acting as an advisor to 20 Chinese community associations. He is an Adjunct Professorial Fellow at the Asia-Pacific Centre for Social Investment and Philanthropy, Faculty of Business and Law, Swinburne University of Technology.


Ms Sonia Vignjevic

Current term - 27 October 2015 – 30 August 2019
First appointed - 27 October 2015

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Ms Vignjevic has significant knowledge of, and experience with, migration and settlement issues through a wide range of positions in the community and quasi-judicial sector. She has strong leadership, strategic and stakeholder engagement skills; and a proven track record in developing and maintaining effective partnerships. She was appointed as Acting CEO at South East Community Links (SCAAB division) in August 2015.  Previously she was the Principal Advisor of Operations at Anglicare Victoria. and before that role was the National Manager of Community Migration Programs at Australian Red Cross.


Dr Mimmie Claudine Ngum Chi Watts

Current term - 27 October 2015 – 30 August 2019
First appointed - 27 October 2015

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Dr Watts, born and raised in Cameroon, is a Lecturer in Community Health at the College of Health and Biomedicine at Victoria University. Dr Watts is an expert on refugee and minority group health and has published widely in the areas of health and cultural and linguistic diversity. She is active in the migrant and refugee community, and currently sits on the Board of Directors for AMES Australia.


Mr Sam Almaliki
Current term - 22 December  2015 – 30 August 2019
First appointed - 22 December  2015

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Originally from Iraq, Mr Almaliki arrived in Australia in 1997 as a refugee. Passionate about inclusion and diversity he is currently the head of Community Engagement at Cricket Australia and the Secretary of the Australian Cricket Diversity Council. He also sits on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Advisory Council, the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) Community Advisory Committee, and is a member of the Australia India Business Council and the Australian Institute of International Affairs. Mr Almaliki has previously served as a Commissioner for Multicultural NSW.



Mr Sisay Dinku

Current term - 9 May 2017 – 30 August 2019

First appointed - 9 May 2017 

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Mr Dinku has a strong record of successfully supporting African Australian communities and the broader multicultural community in Victoria, with a focus on employment programs for new migrants and highly disadvantaged job seekers. A founding member of Celebration of African Australians (CAA) and a Councillor of the Pan African Australasian Diaspora Network (PAADN), he currently serves as a member of the African Ministerial Working Group, AFL Multicultural Community Ambassador and the Chairperson of the African Union Delegates Liaison. Mr Dinku has also held professional positions in research, consultancy and advocacy across different sectors.

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    Migration: Women and Resilience

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    Polynesian Dance – Beginners: Embrace your femininity!

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