For over 40 years Vivi Germano-Koutsounados has been advocating for culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Australia. Vivi migrated to Australia from Greece in 1954 when she was only nine years old. Her experience of migration has driven her passion for multiculturalism, social justice and human rights for migrants and refugees. In 1979, Vivi founded Ethnic Community Services Co-operative in Marrickville, where she is soon to retire as executive director. The co‑operative is a vital organisation that advocates for and delivers culturally and linguistically relevant services for our multicultural community.
By working to connect community members to relevant childcare, disability and aged care services, Vivi has helped give independence to many otherwise vulnerable and isolated people. Vivi was a recipient of the Order of Australia Medal and the Human Rights Medal. In 2002, she went to the United Nations where she lobbied the High Commissioner of Refugees about the need to tackle the problems experienced by children in detention. She is a compassionate, devoted and inspiring woman. I congratulate Vivi on her retirement from Ethnic Community Services Co‑operative and acknowledge her incredible contributions to our community.