BOARD 2015 – 2016
Rabbi Ralph Genende, President
Born in Zimbabwe, raised in South Africa Rabbi Ralph Genende is a well-known and popular Modern Orthodox Rabbi. Ralph was Senior Rabbi to the Auckland, New Zealand Jewish community for ten years. He then became College Rabbi at Mount Scopus College and rabbi of Beit Aharon congregation. Currently Rabbi Genende is Senior Rabbi of Caulfield Hebrew Congregation, one of Melbourne’s largest congregations, Senior Rabbi to the Australian Defence Force, Chair of the Religious Advisory Council to the Minister of Defence (RACS), Executive member of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria, board member of AIJAC and member of the Premier’s Mulitifaith Advisory Group. Rabbi Genende is a trained counsellor with a Masters degree from Auckland University. He is married to Caron, a psychologist and they have three children – Eyal, Daniella and Yonatan.
The Right Reverend Bishop Philip Huggins, Vice President
Bishop Philip Huggins is a Regional Bishop in the Anglican Church, Diocese of Melbourne. He was ordained a priest in the Anglican Church in 1977. He has held appointments in regional Victoria, Melbourne, Assistant Bishop in Perth and as Bishop of Grafton, NSW. He has served on a number of boards and committees in the Church and in the wider community, with a focus on social justice, interfaith dialogue and human rights. He is a member of the Act for Peace Commission of the National Council of Churches in Australia and a Board member of St Laurence Community Services. Bishop Philip is married to Elizabeth and they have three adult sons.
Ian Hamilton, Secretary
Ian has a BSc in Mathematics from Rhodes University South Africa and a Dip Ed from Liverpool University in the UK. He worked as a Secondary School teacher in Liverpool UK, Melbourne Australia and Johannesburg South Africa and on retirement helps to run, as a volunteer, a retreat centre in Wantirna. He has been involved in many different roles within the Focolare Movement for many years and through them also became involved in inter faith networks both here and abroad.
Robert Zucker, Treasurer
Robert has worked in the Accounting Profession for more than 25 years. He has run a successful Practice for the past 20 years with experience in Industry, Government and other Accounting roles. He is the son of “miraculous” Holocaust survivors who migrated to Australia in 1950 and provided him with the chance to enjoy growing up in a sports-loving country where opportunities abound.
Ayman Islam, ICV Liaison Officer
Ayman is active in Mental Health and engaging Muslim communities throughout Melbourne. He does this through microfinance and financial inclusion programs (QARD HASAN NILS and the Victorian Zakat fund). A strong advocate of interfaith dialogue he participates in interfaith conferences and forums across Victoria. He previously served as a presenter in the JCMA schools program. Born and raised in Darwin, Northern Territory with a Bangladeshi heritage, Ayman shares a keen interest in issues such as social justice, the environment and community health issues drawing parallels to the plight of indigenous people here and in Bangladesh. A love of sport is also something that he shares with a strong passion for cricket, tennis and the mighty Essendon bombers.
Frances Prince, JCCV Liaison Officer
Frances was born in Melbourne. She has been an educator at Mt Scopus College for over 25 years. In her current role she is Coordinator of Teacher Development, responsible for creating a culture of continuous reflection and improvement in teaching practice throughout the Secondary School. For twelve years Frances was Coordinator of the Outreach (Interfaith) program at Mt Scopus. Together with Rabbi Ralph Genende, she organised the first encounter in Melbourne between Jewish and Moslem secondary school students. She also initiated the school’s involvement in the Building Bridges Interfaith Dialogue program. Frances is Educational Facilitator at B’nai Brith Anti-Defamation Commission’s annual Multi Faith Future Leaders Program (for people aged in their 20’s). She writes and leads the National Council of Jewish Women’s annual interfaith Model Passover Seder for women and girls. She was a writer and educational consultant for Garratt Publishing’s “The Third Space” project, a series of interfaith novellas and educational guides for Australian Middle School students. She was also founding Board Member and Education Officer for March of the Living, Australia- an educational journey to Poland and Israel for Australian Jewish Year 11 students. She is married to Steven Kolt, and they have two adult sons.
Rev Ian Smith, VCC Liaison Officer
Ian is an ordained Churches of Christ minister, is married to Karen and has 3 adult children. He has spent the last 30 years working in multicultural and interfaith settings throughout the northern suburbs of Melbourne as a local Christian minister. He is the inaugural chair of the Northern Intercultural and Interfaith Network that is working across 5 municipalities in the Northern Region of Melbourne. Currently Ian is then Executive Officer of the Victorian Council of Churches.
Ayesha is a fifth generation Australian of Pakistani heritage. She gained a valuable insight into the traditions and practices of the Abrahamic faiths during her Catholic schooling. This inspired ongoing support of interfaith initiatives. She has a Masters in Computer Science from RMIT University and has taught at various universities. Ayesha was on the board of SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneurs Council and is currently the Honorary Investment Consul for Pakistan in Melbourne. She has presented globally at various conferences and events including CHOGM Perth, WexNet and Education without Borders. She is an avid supporter and volunteer for various causes including women empowerment, inter-faith harmony and linkages, empowerment of the high needs or marginalised groups of the community.
Hans is the Senior Chaplain at Melbourne Grammar School. He is an ordained priest in the Anglican Church, a Spiritual Director and a Secondary Teacher of Philosophy and Religious Studies. Hans is an oblate in the Camaldolese Benedictine Order. He is the Co-founder and former President of the Mornington Peninsula Interfaith Network. Hans has a keen interest in World Religions, contemplative spirituality and interfaith dialogue. He is an advocate for social and ecological justice and is a member of the Anglican Diocese’s Social Responsibilities Committee. He regularly leads interfaith dialogues, retreats and meditation days. Hans is married to Ruth and they have two sons.
Jim Cyngler OAM
Jim has been a practicing mediator since 1992. He is a senior trainer for the Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia and is a Principal Instructor under the Australian National Mediator Standards. Jim has been a practicing lawyer since 1976 and a member of the Victorian Bar since 1979. He is a builder and property developer and has a familiarity and background in business. He was as President for 11 years instrumental in developing one of Australia’s fastest growing Independent Schools. He serves on a number of not for profit boards. Specialties: Conflict Management Consultant and Skills Trainer, Commercial Negotiator, Facilitator, Mediator and Arbitrator, Barrister specialising in dispute resolution and conflict management, Commercial dispute resolution, Commercial property and construction law, Small business, Registered builder. In 2009 Jim was awarded an OAM for services to the community.