Dr Madhumita IYENGAR Chair

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An Economist and Policy Advisor by profession, Dr Madhumita IYENGAR is a passionate advocate of women empowerment.

During the past two decades, she served as an Executive in multiple Community Governing Boards, such as: Canberra Women in Business (CWB), Women Economists Network (WEN), Federation of Indian Associations in ACT (FINACT), Bengali Cultural Association (BCA) etc.

Madhumita founded Initiatives For Women In Need Inc (known as IWiN) in 2013, ACT’s first organisation to support and advocate for disadvantaged multicultural women and create a culturally safe networking platform for them.  Since then, she has consistently advocated for multicultural women experiencing domestic violence, gender inequality, racism and discrimination, job market barriers and delivered many outcome focussed innovative community projects.

Madhumita is widely recognised for her long-standing commitment in community services in ACT and was awarded 2019 ACT Multicultural Champion (Individual) Award.  She was also a Nominee of 2024 ACT Woman of the Year, in recognition of her contribution to improving life and status of women and girls in the ACT region.

Under Madhumita’s leadership, IWiN developed ACT’s first Collective Impact Action Plan (CIAP) in 2019, which was co-designed with ACT’s multicultural women groups.  IWiN also delivered ACT’s unique multicultural women led social enterprise project, Her Kitchen Table (HKT) in 2022 that created micro-business for low-skilled migrant women, in partnership with local service providers and businesses.

Madhumita’s outstanding leadership made IWiN the WINNER of the 2021 ACT Multicultural Champion (Community Organisation) Award, while HKT Project won the 2022 ACT Multicultural Champion (Community Organisation) Award.


Deputy Chair

More About Ms Diana RAHMAN OAM

Diana has more than 25 years’ community service experience, having set up and managed a multitude of organisations and developed many programs and projects. She also brings 27 years experience working in the Federal Public Services. She continues to challenge and provide frank and fearless advice on the importance of multiculturalism to governments, policy makers and service providers.

Her awards include:

University of Canberra Distinguished Alumni Award, 2017 Chancellor’s Award for Service and Philanthropy.

2017 nominated for the Australian of the Year award.

2016 Medal in the Order of Australia (OAM) “for services to the community through a range of multicultural organisations”.

2011 Honoured with an award and trophy for her contribution in setting up Canberra’s dedicated multi-lingual radio station CMS, Canberra Multicultural Services.

During the celebration of 100 years of International Women’s Day in 2011 Diana was honoured on the ACT Honour Roll and was chosen as one of ten prominent women in the ACT.

International Women’s Day award in 2005.

2001 Centenary of Federation Medal for her contribution to the betterment of the Australian Muslim community.

Mr Arif HAQUE Deputy Chair

More About Mr Arif HAQUE

Arif brings a wealth of experience and passion in his role as Vice Chair of the Canberra Multicultural Community Forum (CMCF).  Having grown up in Canberra since 1968, Arif possesses a deep understanding of the city’s evolving multicultural landscape and the unique challenges faced by its diverse communities.

Arif is a strong advocate for CMCF’s mission to empower and support its member organisations.  He is committed to leveraging the immense potential of CMCF to represent the interests of its members effectively, drive community-focused initiatives, and solidify CMCF’s position as a robust and resilient platform for Australia’s growing and diverse multicultural population.

Arif’s professional background complements his dedication to community service.  As the CEO of a start-up for over 15 years, he has a proven track record of innovation and leadership, leading the development of the groundbreaking, chemical-free water disinfection technology.  His company’s focus on developing safe and sustainable water solutions aligns with his broader interest in fostering well-being within the community.  His entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to addressing a global challenge are valuable assets for CMCF.

In his personal life, Arif enjoys science fiction, blues music, and playing rhythm guitar.

Mrs Kui Foon (Chin) WONG


More About Mrs Kui Foon (Chin) WONG

Chin was born in Malaysia of Chinese heritage with a background in nursing, midwifery, neonatal intensive care, nursing informatics and healthcare management.  Chin is a well-established community leader and multiculturalism advocate.  Chin has been a member of the ACT Nursing Professional Board, and various multicultural advisory bodies, with a deep understanding of the interests and issues experienced by multicultural communities in the ACT.  She has special interests and is active in the promotion of positive aging and aged care services.  She has extensive networking skills with community sectors and is experienced in community capacity development and training.   She is also a regular guest and broadcaster on Community Radio programs and regularly hosts a Weekly Chinese Cantonese and Chinese Mandarin Radio Broadcasting program.

Chin previously held CMCF positions as Secretary, Vice Chair and during her six years term in the position as Chair of Canberra Multicultural Community Forum she led this group of well-respected multicultural community leaders, advocating and representing over 110 ethnic communities and associated organizations in the ACT and acting as the leading multicultural voice of ACT.  She has been recognized by many multicultural community organizations for her community leadership, contributions, and support in mentoring new and emerging community groups.  She is passionate about building better working relationships with community service providers and finding solutions to break down the barriers to enable multicultural communities can access the services available, in particular related to aged care and community services.

Chin was instrumental in setting up the ACT Chinese Aged Care Information and guided Referral Services for the Chinese communities in early 2000 with the support of the Australian Government Community Partnership grant program.  She set up the Multicultural Seniors Network program known as the SMILE program to implement the senior community capacity building program, encourage multicultural seniors to set up their interest groups and hold meetings to support their seniors residing in the ACT; and to learn and share experiences about accessing my aged care and community support services.  Chin is also a member of the Canberra Lions Club since 2020 and has been involved with many community service projects including participating as a Master of ceremony in the Citizenship Ceremony, welcoming new Australians.  She has recently joined the Board of Management of COTA ACT.

Current Community Involvements

Member, of ACT Ministerial Advisory Council for Multiculturalism (2023-2026)

President, ACT Chinese Australian Association Inc.) 2011- present)

Board member, Council of Ageing ACT (2023-2025)

Secretary Canberra Multicultural Community Forum Inc. (2023 – 2025)

Chair, Canberra Multicultural Community forum Inc. (2017-2023)

Member, National Multicultural Festival Community Reference Panel Group (2022-2024)

Canberra Ambassador / Multicultural Honorary Ambassador for ACT 2001 – 2022

Member, Canberra Lions Club of Canberra Valley

Award Most Outstanding Multicultural Volunteer of ACT – 2011

Award Most Outstanding Multicultural Advocate of ACT – 2018

Mr Malcolm MAHON


More About Mr Malcolm MAHON

Malcolm is an accountant (retired) with over 40 years of experience in large Corporates and government agencies.  He also has a strong interest in IT having developed and maintained accounting software for small business.

He has looked after the accounts for CMCF Inc. since he took on the role in 2015 and is passionate about the development of the multicultural community in Canberra and improvements to the governance of community associations.

Personal interests include travel, photography, music and the violin.

Ms Khusbu Pushpa NEUPANE


Dr Mandy SCOTT


More About Dr Mandy SCOTT

Mandy (Amanda) Scott is a passionate advocate for community language learning, bilingualism and multiculturalism.  She was nominated as 2024 ACT Senior of the Year for her volunteer activities in these areas.

Of Anglo-Celtic heritage, Mandy is a qualified teacher, speaks several languages and has a Masters and PhD in Linguistics.  She has taught and lectured in Australia and overseas, and worked for several years in the Commonwealth Department of Education and the Commonwealth Schools Commission.  Current positions include:

  • Honorary Lecturer, ANU School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
  • Convenor, Canberra Region Languages Forum
  • Secretary, ACT Bilingual Education Alliance
  • Secretary, Welsh Society of Canberra Inc
  • Public Officer, Association for Learning Mandarin in Australia Inc
  • Member of organising group, Mother Tongue – Multilingual Poetry
  • Presenter, 2XX FM community radio – Canberra Multicultural Voices (Mondays), Mandarin language program (Fridays)




Ravi Krishnamurthy is a respected figure within the Canberra multicultural community, serving as a Justice of the Peace in the ACT.  He holds pivotal roles as the President of both the Australian Multicultural Action Network (AMAN) and the Tamil Sangam of Canberra (TSoC).  Additionally, he plays a significant role as the coordinator facilitator for the Canberra Sanskrit School.

Ravi generously dedicates his time to various community organizations and related activities, including as NSW Ambulance GoodSAM Member, Clinical Governance and Quality Unit reviewer, Active member of Development and Review Health Information Sheets, supporter of the ACT Community Languages Association (ACTCLSA) and the Multicultural Networks.  His certification in First Aid and role as the Primary First Aid Officer greatly benefits community activities.

An active member of numerous community and legal organizations such as Commonwealth Magistrates and Justices Association (CMJA), the Federation of Indian Associations in the ACT (FINACT), Canberra Multicultural Community Forum (CMCF), Hindu Temple and Cultural Centre (HTCC), ACT Justices of the Peace Association (ACTJPA), Ravi contributes his time to various causes including Multicultural Network activities, Language Networks, the National Multicultural Festival, Events ACT activities, Cancer Council, Leukaemia Foundation, and more.

Ravi Krishnamurthy champions bilingual education, particularly for Indian languages, and works tirelessly to strengthen connections between organizations while highlighting the multicultural community’s achievements in Australia.

Ravi has recently received high praise, including a commendation from the ACT Government in 2023 for the ACT Outstanding Excellence Award for Diversity and Inclusion.



More About Mr Seevali PANAGODA

Hailing from the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”, Sri Lanka, Seevali migrated to Australia in 1986 and spent his first twelve years in New South Wales before moving to Canberra to start his family.

When he was in Sydney, Seevali had the opportunity to serve the Sri Lankan community, amongst many other communities, whilst holding various positions in several associations.

Then, throughout his many years in Canberra, Seevali had the honour of holding the positions of Vice President, Secretary, Committee Member, and Project Officer of the Australia Sri Lanka Buddhist Association of Canberra (ASLBAOC).  Seevali has also been a member of the Australia Sri Lanka association (ASLA) for over 20 years.  With badminton being a major passion of Seevali’s, he was also the President of the Sri Lankan badminton club ‘STDN’ in Canberra.

Throughout these years, Seevali had the opportunity to work with various communities while participating and supporting multi-cultural events.

His unwavering commitment towards the Sri Lankan community in both Sydney and Canberra, and by extension the wider multi-cultural community, is to be commended.

Seevali runs his own consulting practice in information technology specialised in ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems.

Mr Vijay Kumar PURI


More About Mr Vijay Kumar PURI

Shri Vijay Puri has managed India Australia Association of Canberra as President and organised Indian festivals during this responsibility.  This gave him enough knowledge of the pulse of the multicultural communities.

He took over and still continues as President of Indian Senior Citizens of ACT and has enough knowledge of the requirements of the Seniors community.  He has arranged various speakers to talk and guide the seniors concerning their mental health, dementia and the rules and regulations to avail the facilities provided by the Federal and the ACT Government for aged care.

Vijay is a chartered Accountant and a Law Graduate with sufficient knowledge of the Australian law to help and guide the community.

Last but not least he serves as Justice of Peace for the multicultural Community in Canberra and feels he can serve their interest better if he is part of the Multicultural forum to help the ACT Government to guide with the needs of the multicultural community and help the forum to take care of what is needed by multicultural communities to make the annual festival a big success.



More About Ms Wambui MATHENGE

Wambui is a well known community leader in the African Community in ACT.  She served as the Chair of the East African Community Association(EACA) from 2022-2023, and as Deputy Chair in 2021 where she supported participation and integration of people from the seven East African countries in the ACT into the Australian Society.  She currently serves as Committee member in EACA supporting the running of the association and delivery of events.

She has been serving as Committee member in CMCF from 2023 to date where she represents the African community in decision making and delivery of information and services and opportunities to the community.  She helps with the engagement of the African community on various aspects of CMCF priorities.

Wambui is passionate about collaboration and partnership with other multicultural organisations towards advocating for inclusion of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities in various areas of Australian Society and reducing discrimination of this minority group in education, employment, health and social services.

She initiated the inaugural African Women Dinner Dance whose aim is to address various issues faced by women, including women’s health and wellbeing, networking and creating awareness to support women as they carry the burden of taking care of families in a new society.

Wambui is proud of her culture and has initiated a dance group which showcases the East African culture through music, dance and traditional attire.  The East African group has performed in many national and regional festivals, Australia Day events, community events and weddings.  She is multilingual and is fluent in Kikuyu, Swahili and English languages.



More About Ms Brigitte TEHEI O'KEEFFE

For 18 years Brigitte has been raising the voices of women, children, and families from culturally and linguistically diverse communities in the ACT.


Brigitte is a proactive volunteer on a number of governing bodies in the ACT and shows outstanding leadership in organising events to raise awareness and educate people on the importance of preventing domestic violence in culturally and linguistically diverse communities.



Public Officer

Community Development

Mr Stephen LIN

NEDA ACT Delegate

Mrs Kui Foon (Chin) Wong Chair
Ms Edith Muruka Deputy Chair
Ms Diana Rahman OAM Deputy Chair
Ms Yelin Hung Secretary
Mr Malcolm Mahon Treasurer
Dr Madhumita Iyengar Committee Member
Mr Aleksander Gancarz OAM Committee Member
Dr Mandy Scott Committee Member
Mr Kofi Osei Bonsu Committee Member
Mr Prasad Tipirneni Committee Member
Mr Sandipan Mitra Committee Member
Mr Sena Athugalage Committee Member
Mr Sam Wong Public Officer
First Constable Matt Barden Multicultural Liaison Officer Community Engagement Team – ACT Policing
Ms Suzanne Eastwood Community Development Program
Ms Cristina Guisti Aged Care – Advisor
Mrs Chin K Wong ( Convenor) CMCF Senior Multicultural Information & Learning Exchange (SMILE) group
Ms Laura Aoun (Chair) Canberra Multicultural Women Forum
Mrs Kui Foon (Chin) Wong   Chair
Mr Hari NS Iyengar   Deputy Chair
Ms Diana Rahman   Deputy Chair
Ms Yelin Hung   Secretary
Mr Malcolm Mahon   Treasurer
Dr Madhumita Iyengar   Committee Member
Mr Aleksander Gancarz   Committee Member
Dr Mandy Scott   Committee Member
Ms Mary Abdel-Massih   Committee Member
Mr Prasad Tipirneni   Committee Member
Ms Edith Muruka   Committee Member
Mr Sena Athugalage   Committee Member
Mr Sam Wong   Public Officer
Mr Patrick Castle – First Constable.   Advisor – ACT Police
Ms Suzanne Eastwood   Community Development Program
Ms Cristina Guisti   Aged Care – Advisor
Mrs Chin K Wong ( Convenor)   CMCF Senior Multicultural Information & Learning Exchange (SMILE) group
Ms Laura Aoun (Chair)   Canberra Multicultural Women Forum
Chin KF WONG   Chair
Diana Rahman OAM   Deputy Chair
Mahesh Scaria   Deputy Chair
Malcolm Mahon   Treasurer and Membership
Yelin Hung   Secretary
Victor Marillanca, JP   Committee Member
Mary Abdel-Massih   Committee Member
Mandy Scott   Committee Member
Aleksander Gancarz, OAM   Committee Member
Jayanti Gupta   Committee Member
Madhumita Iyengar   Committee Member
Mithun Alexander   Committee Member
Sam Wong AM (Life Member)   Public Officer
Hongsar Channaibanya   Advisor – New and Emerge Communities
 Independent Committees:  
ACT Bilingual Education Alliance   Marina Houston
Canberra Multicultural Women Forum   Laura Aoun (Interim Chair)
CMCF Senior Multicultural Information & Learning Exchange (SMILE) group  


Chin K Wong ( Convenor)



CHAIR Diana Rahman OAM
DEPUTY CHAIR Kerry Markoulli
DEPUTY CHAIR Harry Oppermann
TREASURER Malcolm Mahon
Aleksander Gancarz Jayanti Gupta
Juan de la Torre Mandy Scott
Sena Athugalage Victor Marillanca JP
Carol Keil Kanti Jinna
Charles Koker Mahesh Scaria
Dan Ong Mary Abdel-Massih
Dianne Coward Roberto Corielli
Elena Sione Shobha Varkey
Gemo Virobo Thelma Ejiogu
Hong Sar Channaibany Yaw Osie-Amo
Jae Park Yelin Hung
John Gunn

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CMCF was formed in December 2005 to be a unified voice to promote the common interests and articulate the purpose and direction of the multicultural community in the ACT through:

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