Media Release: 2024 Carla Zampatti Arts & Culture Medal

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19 MARCH 2024


CEO of Diversity Arts Australia, Lena Nahlous, has been honoured with the 2024 Carla Zampatti Arts and Culture Medal as part of the NSW Premier’s Multicultural Community Honours. The accolade celebrates individuals who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to promoting cultural understanding and artistic endeavours within and between culturally and/or linguistically diverse communities.

For over two decades, Lena Nahlous has been a pioneering force in the arts and creative sectors. Inspired by her lived intersectional experience of race, gender, and class, Lena has dedicated her career to advocating social change and fostering inclusive leadership in the arts and beyond.

“There is no one more deserving of this award than Lena. Her commitment to equity, justice and human rights is evident in her work both at the local level – in regions like Western Sydney where she has spent decades working, and her work nationally through Diversity Arts Australia. We are please to see that Lena’s decades-long leadership has received this prestigious recognition.” said Cecilia Anthony, Chair of Diversity Arts Australia.

Under Lena’s stewardship, Diversity Arts has emerged as a leading advocate for equity and inclusion in the arts, pioneering ground-breaking initiatives such as the ‘Shifting the Balance Report‘ and the ‘Creative Equity Toolkit‘, ‘Pacesetters‘ and the ‘Fair Play‘ capacity-building program. Lena’s impact is felt profoundly in Western Sydney, where she has championed arts and cultural initiatives that amplify traditionally excluded voices and narratives, including in her previous role as Executive Director, Arts and Culture Exchange. Some of her recent accolades include being awarded a Churchill Fellowship (2023) and winning the Western Sydney Woman Leader of Change Award (2020).

Lena says, “It was an incredible privilege to receive the Carla Zampatti Arts and Culture Medal this week. Music, performance, theatre, writing, screen have the power to be transformative. The art that is being produced by NSW’s migrant, refugee and culturally diverse communities, including from my own Arab communities, are a testament to this.”

CEO of Multicultural NSW Joseph La Posta said: “From community working in regional NSW through to language teachers, the award recipients showcase the very best of our multicultural society and how we can all make a difference by striving for community harmony.”

Multicultural NSW Advisory Board Chair Nick Kaldas, APM, said: “The people who have been recognised with the Community Medals or induction into the Honour Roll are the reason NSW is considered one of the most successful multicultural states in the world.”