Egyptian soul musician Mariam Sawires has performed with her family-band in celebration of high achieving Egyptian-Australian students who have been recognized for their academic excellence at a gathering of high achieving high school graduates at Sydney University.
A group of high school graduates, who all scored a mark of 90 percent or higher during their high school leaving exams, enjoyed a performance flavored with Arabic beats and Northern African infused Jazz music.
Sawires spoke of her experience as a young Egyptian-Australian and the impact she would like to have on a generation of young Egyptian-Australians.
“It is an honour to perform at this special event and connect with the Egyptian community as an Australian Egyptian family band,” said Sawires.
She further added that music is a tool to help people remain connected to their roots, community and cultural heritage.
“I can personally relate to the youth coming out of high school. School can be very overwhelming with the workload and my family and playing traditional Arabic music and neo-soul music, is a hope to encourage and excite them to follow their [young people’s] passions and goals as well as remain connected to their roots and the community here,” she added.
Sawires, sister of actress, Helana Sawires of the recently released Ali’s Wedding, performed at the event at the invite of the Australian Egyptian Forum Council (AEFC).
Forum Spokesperson, Amir Salem, explained that the annual student event is organised to celebrate academic achievement in the Egyptian community.
“We promote the values of success and achievement as an important value to Egyptian culture,” said Salem.
“We also encourage the integration of Egyptians in Australian society, with other mainstream NGOs and set awards for participation.”
In addition to hosting cultural events like the school leavers event and an annual Egyptian Cultural Festival at Tumbalong Park in Sydney’s Darling Harbour, the Australian Egyptian Forum Council (AEFC) also donates to charitable causes like cancer research in Egypt and Australia in addition to a Coptic hospital in Upper Egypt’s Minia Governorate.
For Salem, the inclusivity of the forum’s board and its vision to promote Australia’s Egyptian community as an integral part of Australian society remains central to its work.
“On our board, we have both Muslim and Christian Egyptians and try to represent Egyptian society as a whole,” said Salem.
“We want to highlight that the Egyptian community in Australia is not a parasite but is an integral part of Australian society. It’s known that the Egyptian community, for example, is one of the most law-abiding communities in Australia.”