Parramatta is friends with Lebanon

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July 27, 2010 By DI BARTOK

LEBANON will soon be mates with Parramatta through a goodwill agreement being set up by Lord Mayor Paul Garrard.

At last week’s council meeting, Cr Garrard put forward his scheme to set up the agreement between Lebanese village associations in the Parramatta area and their respective home villages in northern Lebanon.

There would be 16 village communities represented in the scheme which was endorsed by all councillors.

The main aim of the scheme was to counter Australians’ negative perception of the war-torn Middle East and to recognise the contribution made by Lebanese residents of Parramatta, Cr Garrard said.

People from Lebanon make up about 35 per cent of the migrant population in Parramatta, making it the largest single ethnic group in the area.

The agreement would be at no cost to the council because the “goodwill ambassadors” would represent Parramatta during their normal visits to their home villages, bearing official good wishes documents from the council.

Cr Garrard will travel to north Lebanon soon, at his own cost, with the council paying for “reasonable” out-of -pocket expenses.

“I am keen to develop this goodwill agreement with north Lebanon in recognition of the contribution the Lebanese have made to Parramatta, through charity work and the make-up of the demographics of the city,” Cr Garrard told councillors.

“For many years, Australian peace-keeping forces have been deployed to the Middle East and such a relationship which is being proposed has the potential to ... promote Australia’s democratic way of life.”

He paid tribute to former lord mayor Tony Issa for his work in establishing relationships with the Lebanese community.

Source: Parramatta Advertiser

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