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Gila Almagor Agmon

Culture is our oxygen: The Summer of Gila.

February 2005

AICE celebrated the life and career of Gila Almagor Agmon, the diva of Israeli stage, film and television, at a special gala at the Crown Casino, Melbourne in February. At the Gala, Gila was presented with the inaugural AICE Lifetime Achievement Award. Recipient of the prestigious Israeli Prize 2004 for her contribution to Israeli film, Gila travelled to Australia for the first time, accompanied by her husband, Yaacov Agmon. As an ‘Ambassador of Culture’ and Board Member of AICE, she met, during her two week stay, key representatives from the Jewish, arts, political, business, educational and media worlds, promoting the importance of cultural exchange in expanding knowledge and greater understanding of Israeli and Australian cultures.

Politicians, key members of the Jewish communities from both Melbourne and Sydney, individuals from the arts world, media representatives all packed the Crown Casino to celebrate her life and career. The Hon Alexander Downer MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Dani Naveh, Israeli Minister of Health (who flew to Australia specially for the celebration) jointly presented Gila with the AICE Lifetime Achievement Award. Entertainment for the evening was provided by Israeli jazz saxophonist, Abate (also flown in specially for the occasion), Aaron Choulai, Moovin’ & Groovin’ Orchestra and Alison Wedding.

‘I shall never forget the Gala night you held in my honour….I’m happy and proud to be part of this organisation [AICE] , made of people who care about the image of Israel in the world – people who know that Israel is a treasure of culture and creativity unlike any other place…Two countries so different in size and mentality, geographically so far away from each other, will find themselves as friends…When it comes to the exchange of cultural wealth, there’s no doubt in my mind that our lives will become better and richer – [afterall] culture is our oxygen.’ Gila Almagor

Gila has graced the Israeli stage since her debut at the Habimah Theatre on her seventeenth birthday more than forty years ago. Her subsequent career has resulted in her being acclaimed as a cultural icon, performing most of the major roles in the theatrical canon and starring in more than 40 films. Gila has also had four books published, including ‘Summer of Aviya’, based on her personal biography and one particular summer when she was a young girl. It has become an international best seller, translated into fifteen languages and which is now a mandatory part of the Israeli school curriculum. ‘Summer of Aviya’ has also been made into an award winning film and, more recently, an award-winning one-woman play.

Sunday 6 February Melbourne
Monday 7 February Malthouse Theatre
  'The Blonde, the Brunette & the Vengeful Redhead' (MTC)
Tuesday 8 February Bialik College Multi Media Centre
  Mount Scopus College
  Premier Steve Bracks
Wednesday 9 February SBS Radio Interview
  Jeanne Pratt AC Luncheon
  ZZZ Radio Interview
Thursday 10 February Breast Cancer Foundation Fund Raising Event
Friday 11 February Melbourne Theatre Company
  Sydney
Monday 14 February Masada College
  'In Conversation' with Rachael Kohn (ABC Radio) - Shalom Institute
Tuesday 15 February Sydney Opera House
  Dr Gene Sherman
  Sydney Theatre Company
  'The Sapphires' (Malthouse Theatre) - Belvoir Theatre
Wednesday 16 February Company B Belvoir
  Sydney Festival
  Sherman Galleries Reception
Thursday 17 February Melbourne
  Gala Reception, Crown Casino
Sunday 20 February Depart for Hong Kong