Busselton and Sugito Sister Cities Association (BASSCA) President, Pauline Vukelic has been recognised by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, for her outstanding work in enhancing inter-regional exchange between Japan and Australia through the promotion of sister-city exchange.
The Government of Japan announced the conferment of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, upon Ms Vukelic on November 3, part of a ceremony handing honours to 103 foreign nationals worldwide, four of which were Australian.
I've always wanted to be a bridge between Australia and Japan... My passion is and always has been to create opportunities to develop mutual understanding through cultural and educational exchange opportunities.- Pauline Vukelic
Ms Vukelic said the recognition was "an immense honour".
"I've always wanted to be a bridge between Australia and Japan," she said.
"My passion is and always has been to create opportunities to develop mutual understanding through cultural and educational exchange opportunities.
"I do need to acknowledge the many dedicated people with whom I have worked, who collectively promote mutual understanding between peoples of Japan and Australia."
The commendations are awarded annually by the Japanese Government, to individuals or groups in recognition of exceptional and distinguished services in the promotion of understanding between Japan and their respective countries.
The City of Busselton Council offered its congratulations and appreciation to Ms Vukelic.
"As President of the Busselton-Sugito Sister City Association and former President of the former Bunbury Setagaya Sister Cities Committee, Ms Vukelic has played a vital role in laying the foundation for the strong and active sister city relationships that continues to this day.
"Her efforts have contributed greatly to the promotion of people-to-people exchanges and understanding between Australia and Japan.
"Her many contributions over the last 30 years will continue to benefit the ties of both countries profoundly for many years to come."
Other Australian Recipients were Jonathan O'Dea (NSW), former speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly; Rosario Ciaravolo, former President of Australia Japan Society of Victoria; and Richard Burr, former Chief of the Australian Army.
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