ICC Sydney Wins Inaugural KARI Corporate Cultural Games Day, Demonstrating Commitment to Reconciliation

In a significant step towards reconciliation with Australia’s First Nations Peoples, the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), managed by ASM Global, has commemorated NAIDOC Week by winning the inaugural Corporate Cultural Games Day hosted by the KARI Foundation. This event, designed to enhance understanding and appreciation of First Nations cultures, saw ICC Sydney’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group participate alongside eight other organizations in a series of immersive activities.

The team, comprised of key members like Samantha Glass (Director of Corporate Affairs, Communication, and Sustainability), Helen Mantellato (Senior Manager, Business Development – International and Exhibitions), Jess Zickar (Corporate Social Responsibility Manager), Sandra Rae (Senior Manager, Public Relations), Libby O’Leary (EA to the Director of Communications), Juan Aranda (Manager, Customer Services), Greg Andrews (Event Operations Manager), and Matthew Whitaker (FF&E & Contracts Manager), engaged in four distinct sessions guided by KARI’s leadership group. These sessions tested their skills in traditional activities such as spear and boomerang throwing, fire starting, cooking, and painting, alongside their knowledge of First Nations history and culture.

Through this immersive experience, ICC Sydney deepened its connection with the local First Nations community. Winning the Corporate Cultural Games Day highlighted their dedication to fostering reconciliation and cultural understanding, aligning with the spirit of NAIDOC Week and its theme of celebrating the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Director of Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability, Samantha Glass, expressed her pride in ICC Sydney’s commitment, stating, “KARI is an active and cherished partner in ICC Sydney’s Legacy Program, and the venue team is proud to foster acknowledgement of First Nations culture to local, national, and international audiences through this special connection. Facilitated by KARI’s cultural custodians under the leadership of KARI Chief Executive Officer Casey Ralph and Chief Commercial Officer Cain Slater, it was an honour and privilege to develop our knowledge and skills through this dynamic, insightful and fun team building event. To be named the winner is a testament to the dedication and commitment of our Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group to embed inclusive cultural practices into our operations.”

Under the guidance of KARI Cultural Unit Manager Troy Dargan, ICC Sydney’s team learned to skillfully throw a woomera (spear) and boomerang. They also practiced the “fire drill” method to ignite a fire with two wooden sticks and baked quiches using an emu egg, incorporating Indigenous ingredients such as warragal greens, dried bush tomatoes, and pepper berries. The team’s knowledge of First Nations history, arts, culture, and sport shone through during the trivia quiz, showcasing their dedication to learning.

Murrawarri descendant and art teacher Danielle Mate inspired the ICC Sydney team’s creativity, guiding them in creating an artwork that combined traditional First Nations symbolism and storytelling techniques.

KARI Chief Commercial Officer, Cain Slater, expressed his appreciation, stating, “We extend heartfelt congratulations to our partner, ICC Sydney, for their contribution to the success of our first Corporate Cultural Games Event in celebration of NAIDOC Week 2024 – Keep the Fire Burning! Blak, Loud & Proud. It was a truly memorable day and ICC Sydney’s team contributed to the day’s activities with great spirit and camaraderie. We thank the team at ICC Sydney for helping to create an atmosphere of learning, connection, and fun. As we continue to celebrate NAIDOC Week, we remain committed to keeping the fire burning and fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of Indigenous culture. We look forward to more opportunities to collaborate and celebrate with the team at ICC Sydney, and all of our corporate partners, in the future.”

ICC Sydney’s commitment to cultural engagement and community support extends beyond this event, evidenced by their ongoing partnership with the KARI Foundation. Internally, this partnership involves team members in various initiatives, including fundraising, volunteering, donation drives, and cultural awareness training. Key activities include participating in events like the City2Surf fun run, the KARI Christmas appeal, and regular yarning circles.

The recent NAIDOC Week KARI Corporate Cultural Games Day marked a significant extension of these efforts, building upon the initiatives from National Reconciliation Week. Previously, the ICC Sydney team had engaged in a traditional yarning circle led by KARI’s Cultural Support and Training Specialist, Anna Gannon. This experience allowed team members to learn the ancient art of weaving, providing a direct connection to Aboriginal cultural practices, facilitating meaningful conversations and the sharing of stories and experiences.

The activities undertaken during the NAIDOC Week event and beyond underscore ICC Sydney’s dedication to fostering cultural understanding and supporting the First Nations community through continuous learning and active participation.

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