Victoria University, one of Australia’s most culturally diverse universities, partnered with the City of Melbourne, one of its most culturally diverse cities, for the second annual ‘Multicultural Matters’ forum.
The forum – held this year in a ‘virtual’ format – marks the United Nations’ World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.
An initiative of VU's Cultural Diversity Office, no other university in Australia has a similar partnership to hold regular public discussions around multicultural and community issues with a capital city government.
More than 200 participants from across Australia and around the world logged in for the forum.
An outstanding panel of thought-leaders led a discussion related to the challenges and impacts on community when faced with crisis such as the recent bushfires and COVID-19.
The panel included:
- Nyadol Nyoun, human rights lawyer, community activist and VU alumna
- George Megalogenis, political and economic journalist, author
- Sahil Puri, former international student, VU alumna
- Veronica Pardo, CEO, Multicultural Arts Victoria
- Lia Timson, Deputy Foreign Editor, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald (moderator)
VU Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Dawkins and City of Melbourne Councillor Beverley Pinder gave opening addresses.
“These are unprecedented times and we are working in ways we never have before. Research shows migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are more vulnerable than others during disasters.”
– Beverley Pinder
“At Victoria University we foster a deep connection with our community and we’re proud to work with our local communities on social cohesion, inclusivity and belonging.”
– Peter Dawkins
“This crisis can either bring community together or shine a light on some of the fault lines that already exist in society.”
– Nyadol Nyoun
“Our society’s been snap-frozen at a very unusual time in our history. What we’ve got at the moment is a majority migrant community. This has created unintended tensions within our society.”
– George Megalogenis
“Racial abuse has increased and this puts Australia’s education reputation on the line. What we do now and from this point forward will make a big difference.”
– Sahil Puri
“The arts sector was one of the first hit and will be one of the last to recover. This is a moment to pause and think of what we might lose. We ignore culture at our peril.”
– Victoria Pardo
VU's cultural diversity strategy
View a complete recording of the forum Password: MM2020