Australia Post AFL Multicultural Program Ambassadors

The AFL and Australia Post are pleased to announce the Multicultural Program will expand in 2015 to include 12 player ambassadors representing 11 AFL clubs. 

Hawthorn dual Premiership player Paul Puopolo, Essendon’s David Zaharakis, Gold Coast Sun’s Nick Malceski, and Brisbane Lions’ James Aish will join current Australia Post AFL Multicultural ambassadors Nic Naitanui, Bachar Houli, Jobe Watson, Alipate Carlile, Stephen Coniglio, Jimmy Toumpas, Lin Jong and Patrick Karnezis in promoting some of the many diverse backgrounds engaged in Australia’s game. 

AFL General Manager People, Customer and Community, Dorothy Hisgrove said the newly-appointed ambassadors were chosen based on community leadership and their commitment to growing the game nationally. 

“It is important that Australian Football continues to provide an inclusive environment which attracts people from all cultural backgrounds to enjoy our game as fans, players and officials as the AFL upholds a commitment to strengthen diversity in our game,” said Ms Hisgrove. 

“We are excited to expand the program to welcome Paul, David, Nick and James and look forward to the Australia Post AFL Multicultural Ambassadors playing a crucial role in raising cultural understanding and encouraging participation in Australian Football at all levels,”

Starting with the Australia Post AFL Community Camp in February, the ambassadors will play a leading role in giving back to regional fans by acknowledging their loyalty and support first-hand when the team is in town.

The Multicultural Ambassadors will be at the forefront of AFL Multicultural Round to be held this year in Round 19 of the Toyota AFL Premiership Season.

With the support of Australia Post, the round will celebrate ‘Many Cultures One Game’ and will highlight the community engagement initiatives being undertaken by the ambassadors and the entire Australian football industry.

In 2015, multicultural players make up 15 per cent of the AFL player list.          

Australia Post General Manager Community Relations, Andrea Pearman said: “As the official Community Inclusion partner of the AFL, we are excited to announce the new Australia Post AFL Multicultural Ambassadors and welcome back the current Ambassadors that participated in our program last year and beyond. 

“Together with the AFL, we share a strong and ongoing commitment to celebrating cultural diversity and sharing the message that everyone is welcome to our game, irrespective of their background. 

“Multiculturalism enriches Australian neighbourhoods and our Ambassador program provides us with many opportunities to tell the story of how different cultures and the game of AFL can come together as one.” 

Australia Post AFL Multicultural Ambassadors information:

  • Nic Naitanui (Fijian) works one day per week at the WAFC supporting the ongoing development of the WA multicultural strategy and the Naitanui Talent Academy.  
  • Bachar Houli (Lebanese) works one day per week at AFL House developing the Bachar Houli Islamic schools program in Victoria, NSW, QLD and WA and will work on its expansion following an increase in Federal Government funding.
  • Nick Malceski (Macedonian) supports the AFL Queensland multicultural strategy through key appearances at multicultural events, including Multicultural Round.  
  • David Zaharakis (Greek) will continue driving the Zahrakais Multicultural Academy in Northern Melbourne and will attend key multicultural events.
  • Paul Puopolo (Italian) will assist in the management of the AFL Multicultural talent camps and National All Nations Cup, as well as attend key multicultural events.
  • Alipate Carlile (Fijian) works one day per week with the SANFL supporting the ongoing development of the SA multicultural strategy, talent academy and facilitates cultural education sessions with community football clubs.  
  • Stephen Coniglio (Italian) will work with the NSW Multicultural Talent Academy, help drive NSW Multicultural Round, as well as be a Talent Mentor to multicultural participants in the talent pathway.
  • Lin Jong (Taiwanese and East Timorese) will work on participation programs in the Western suburbs of Melbourne including a multicultural Auskick centre and will facilitate cultural education sessions with community football clubs.
  • Jobe Watson is passionate about uniting diverse communities through Australian Football and will support the AFL multicultural strategy through key appearances at multicultural events, including AFL Multicultural Round.  
  • Jimmy Toumpas (Greek) will facilitate cultural education sessions with community leagues and community football clubs as well as assist with multicultural talent programs in particular the Toumpas Academy in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne.
  • Patrick Karnezis (Greek) will work on the Multicultural Community Ambassador program as well as the AFL’s multicultural festivals strategy and social media strategy.
  • James Aish is passionate about uniting diverse communities through Australian Football and will support the ongoing development of the AFL Queensland Multicultural strategy and programs including the Queensland All Nations Cup.

For any player ambassador involvement contact your Multicultural state manager.

You can also contact Bachar Houli via his website - bacharhouli.com.au

Stories from our AFL Multicultural Ambassadors

Bachar Houli - Richmond

Year of Birth
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