The Australian actor and Ms India Australia Goodwill Ambassador, Saroni Roy, received the 2022 Citizen of the Year Award at the Strathfield Council 2022 Australia Day Awards & Citizenship Ceremony held on the 26th of January 2022 at the Strathfield Townhall, NSW.
Hosted and presented by the Mayor of Strathfield Councillor Matthew Blackmore, the Australia Day Awards recognised the unsung heroes in the local community whose achievements have been outstanding and to thank them for their exemplary work for the community.
A passionate, dynamic and highly experienced community-welfare & peace activist for projects based on – Diversity & Inclusion, Positive Peace, Gender Equality, Emotional Intelligence, Mental Health, Invisible Disability, Sustainability, Social-justice, Socio-economic and Environmental well-being, Saroni has emerged as a Thought Leader and an agent of Positive Change in Australia.
Saroni has been extensively contributing positively & impacting lives of vulnerable & less-privileged communities for decades since she was a teenager, first in India (country of birth) and then as a responsible, young Australian citizen. Giving back to the community is a way of life for Saroni.
A cancer-survivor, facing multiple invisible disability, her story of struggle, success and service has inspired several across the globe.
To serve & engage the multicultural community at a deeper level, Saroni conceptualised, produced & hosted the Ahimsa Peace Symposium 2021 (APS2021). The first-of-its-kind, inaugural APS 2021 is a tribute to the global peace hero Mahatma Gandhi and presented a virtual panel of inspirational guest speakers from India and Australia, and a global community forum to discuss Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of Ahimsa (non-violence), their articulation with UN Sustainable Development Goals and the global ‘Women, Peace and Security’ agenda.
APS 2021 increased public awareness and understanding of Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of Ahimsa (non-violence) as a non-violent approach to foster lasting peace within and across diverse & vulnerable communities, thereby accelerating inclusive, networked multilateralism with vision, ambition and impact, integral for a sustainable world. Initially Saroni had conceptualised this event to be an in-person event but adapting to the covid-19 restrictions in NSW and keeping in mind the urgent need for a peace symposium perpetuating non-violence, she went ahead to host a live virtual event which was attended by multicultural communities not just in Strathfield, NSW but also worldwide, making APS 2021 the first-of-its-kind International Peace Symposium.
Contributing profoundly to the UN-SDGs 4,5,11, 16, 17, Saroni observes that “violence against women and girls has risen globally since lockdowns, which has led to what we see as a ‘Shadow Pandemic’, and thus the focus on the global ‘Women Peace and Security’ agenda through APS2021”.
As Ms India Australia Goodwill Ambassador Saroni has continually contributed to the India Australia bi-lateral relationship. APS is also a celebration of the shared values between the two countries and a prelude to India’s 75 years of independence in 2022.
An astute leader & visionary, Saroni aims to hold APS as an annual community-welfare initiative focusing on diverse challenges our multicultural community is faced with. APS 2021 showcased a stellar line up of Guest Speakers like HE Manpreet Vohra, High Commissioner of India to Australia, Jeremy Wright AM, Consul General of India, Sydney, Manish Gupta, Fiona Martin MP, Jodi McKay MP (then State Member for Strathfield), Julia Finn MP, Julian Leeser MP, Cr Reena Jethi, Dr Janice Hall, Patricia Garcia AO, Dr Suman Khanna, President, Shanti Sahyog – a Gandhian NGO & Shanti Sahyog Centre for Nonviolence who virtually joined from India. The APS 2021 was attended by several multicultural communities & distinguished guests and government leaders, who were utterly moved and actuated by the high-impact presentations and Saroni’s performance of Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite peace-songs.