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TWENTY-THIRD ANNUAL EID-UL-FITR CELEBRATIONS AT PARLIAMENT HILL ON JUNE 19, 2018
The celebrations were held in the Sir John Mcdonald Building on Wellington Street. The Keynote Speaker and Award Recipient was Mr. Akaash Maharaj, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC). GOPAC has national chapters in 62 countries, and individual members in nearly every parliament of the world.
In addition to his overall responsibilities, Akaash directs GOPAC’s project on international prosecution of Crimes Against Humanity and its work on reconciliation in post-conflict states. In 2016, the United Nations selected him to speak for the world’s legislators in the General Assembly Chamber, on bringing the world’s worst kleptocrats to justice.
As a national athlete, he was a triple gold medallist for Canada at the International Championships of Equestrian Skill-at-Arms. He later led the overall Canadian Equestrian Team as its CEO, to the team’s most successful Olympics and Paralympics of all time.
Akaash earned his Master of Arts from Oxford University, and was the first overseas student elected President of the student government in the history of the 900 year-old university. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, of the Royal Asiatic Society, and of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
Retired Chief Armand La Barge was the Master of Ceremonies. Miss Yumna Siddiqi introduced Mr. Maharaj. Mr. Maharaj got a standing ovation for his speech. Please click here for it.
This year was unique in that APMC celebrated the birthdays of H. E. Luigi Bonazzi, Apostolic Nuncio, Ambassador of Holy Sea (Vatican) and President Mobeen Khaja, both born on the same day eight years apart. A big beautiful cake was jointly cut by them and Ambassadors and High Commissioners attending and those going to the Vatican to see Pope Francis in October this year were also asked to join in.
Many Members of Parliament attended. Member of Parliament, John McKay who co-hosts the event, brought greetings from the Government.
Ambassadors of the Vatican, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Latvia, and Albania and High Commissioner of Pakistan and Minister, Malaysian High Commission attended.
His Excellency Luigi Bonazzi, Apostolic Nuncio, Ambassador of Holy Sea (Vatican) said Grace before dinner.
Sandulak's polar bear sculpture and a plaque were presented to Mr. Maharaj. The inscription on the plaque was as follows:
'IN RECOGNITION OF YOUR REMARKABLE ACHIEVEMENTS OVER 20 YEARS AND YOUR PASSION TO DO PUBLIC GOOD BUILDING BRIDGES AND DEFENDING HUMAN RIGHTS AT HOME AND ABROAD.'
As in the past, many drove from Toronto to attend these celebrations. For Keynote Address, please click here.
Here are some pictures from the event.