Ivan Kolarik, OAM

Community Panel member

Appointed December 2022

Ivan came to Australia as a refugee from former Czechoslovakia, after the Soviet invasion in 1968. He had formal library qualifications and was a student of journalism at Charles University in Prague.

His first priority in life in his new adopted country was to learn English. While he was learning Ivan worked as a labourer in Tasmania. Gradually he learned the language and was able to continue his studies, eventually graduating from University of Melbourne with BA (Hons).

Ivan has some 30 years of professional experience in immigration and ethnic affairs. He was Senior Assistant Director, Victorian Ministry of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs.

Ivan worked as Librarian in Victoria and NSW. He was the first Ethnic Services Librarian in Australia.

Ivan joined Victoria Police in 1983. There he was Police Ethnic Advisor, again the first position of this kind in Australia. Out of 20 years with Victoria Police, for the last 10 years prior to his retirement he occupied an inaugural position of Executive Director, National Police Ethnic Advisory Bureau and oversaw the development of national policies. Some of them were adopted by European Police Forces.

Ivan was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship in 1986. For his policing achievements he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM).

In 2011 Ivan was invited by the Czech government to share Australian experiences in the management of challenges of multiculturalism with the Czech Police.

Ivan has always been interested in the successful settlement of migrants and refugees in Australia. He has been closely involved with his own ethnic community and works as a volunteer teaching English to refugees. Currently he attends the U3A studying Current affairs. Ivan is Honorary Ethnic adviser to the Community Advocacy Alliance (CAA).

As former racing cyclist, Ivan still enjoys his bike. Ivan is a successful author publishing in his first language, Czech. Ivan is married with two daughters and three granddaughters. 

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