What a year for the American Australian Association!
On February 25, we partnered with G’Day USA to present the first ever G’Day USA AAA Arts Gala. Our first event of the year may have been virtual, but it was brighter than ever! We were joined by a host of our favorite celebrities to honor three great Australians, Cate Blanchett, Aaron Pedersen & Liane Moriarty, for their contributions to the arts. The event reached over 11,000 viewers, raising money to support the AAA and its Arts Fund – lifting up the next generation of artists as they work to make the world a brighter place.
The AAA hosted 16 webinars in 2021, across a range of topics: from science and innovation to business, technology, government affairs and the arts. Each conversation featured a panel of experts who were able to speak to the American-Australian relationship within the context of their work. Our distinguished speakers included former Prime Ministers Julia Gillard and Malcolm Turnbull, Booker-Prize winning Australian author Peter Carey, Dr. Cathy Foley, Australia’s Chief Scientist, and Australian Olympian Peter Bol – along with many more. Find full replays of all our webinars here.
In April, when few around the world were able to do so, the American Australian Association, New England commemorated ANZAC Day with an in-person service for our members and friends. Held outdoors at the World War II Memorial in Boston’s Back Bay Fens, where Brigadier (Retired) Barry N. McManus, AM CSC delivered a keynote address. Followed by a socially distanced reception, the event marked the Association’s first in-person event in more than a year.
In August, the AAA partnered with America Josh, Australian Women in New York and Advance to put on the Big Aussie Sports Day & BBQ. Over 420 keen picnickers gathered in Prospect Park on a beautiful sunny afternoon for a healthy dose of community spirit and good Aussie fun. The white bread-onion-tomato sauce snag was the talk of the park! We were joined by two AAA Scholars who performed acoustic pop-up sets throughout the afternoon. After such a long period of lockdown, it was truly a treat to see relaxed and smiling faces in the fresh air, offering a safe space for the Australian community to gather after a tough year.
September marked the 70th Anniversary of the signing of the ANZUS Treaty: the formal military alliance between America and Australia, agreed upon in 1951. On September 11, we joined Australian Ambassador Arthur Sinodinos, NY Consul-General Nick Greiner and The Australian Community for a service marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Nearly 3,000 lives were lost that day, including 10 Australians. It was in the wake of the 2001 attacks that Australian Prime Minister John Howard invoked the ANZUS Treaty for the first time.
Later that month, we gathered to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the ANZUS Treaty at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. We were honored to have Sen. the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, The Hon Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the U.S. Navy, and The Hon. Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Defence, as guest speakers. The legendary Dionne Warwick headlined our evening’s entertainment, with special performances by Nashville-based Australian country singer Morgan Evans and AAA-NOMAD Two Worlds Indigenous Arts Scholar, Mi-kaisha. Among our guests were former Australian and American ambassadors who have served in each country during the past 70 years, along with distinguished veterans who have collectively fought in every major conflict since before the Treaty was signed. It was a night to remember, demonstrating the importance of ANZUS and its legacy today.
It was another productive year for the American Australian Business Council. We gathered for a successful CEO Summit in September, and in November, were excited to launch Business Council West. The West-Coast arm of the AAA Business Council will provide a prestigious forum in Los Angeles for business and government leaders to discover new opportunities, make new connections and share their experiences and successes. Australian Consul-General Jane Duke hosted a reception to mark the occasion, featuring a panel discussion with Sarah Harden, CEO of Hello Sunshine, and Nick Molnar, Co-CEO & Co-Founder of Afterpay, in conversation with AAA Board Member Jennifer Nason.
We wrapped up the year’s programming with our annual Holiday Party, bringing the Australian community in NYC together one last time in 2021. In spite of another uniquely challenging year, the AAA awarded over US$1.3 million in scholarships and grants to 54 scholars in 2021. Against all odds, travel restrictions and the constantly changing landscape of COVID-19, we are thrilled to welcome this new group of outstanding individuals into our community. Thanks to the incredible support of our Board, the AAA Team, our friends, members & partners, we are grateful for all that 2021 brought – and look forward to exciting plans for a bigger and better 2022!
Our warmest wishes for a very Happy Christmas, a wonderful holiday and a healthy and happy New Year from the whole team at AAA!