Victoria University is an accessible and friendly university. We believe in embracing cultural difference – so we can be ourselves and feel empowered to achieve success.

We are proud to be one of the most culturally diverse universities in Australia. Our students and staff:

  • represent over 90 different cultures
  • speak over 200 different languages.

We share the belief that:

“Cultural rights are an integral part of human rights”

– UNESCO's Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity.

Pandemic Reflections No. 5 – part of the VU Iftar 2020.

Our strategy

We work with our students, staff and partners to promote a culturally inclusive environment.

Victoria University’s Cultural Diversity Strategy represents our global mindset to:

  • enrich the lives of our students, staff and the community
  • connect us all as a community dedicated to scholarship and active citizenship
  • celebrate the powerful benefits that cultural diversity provides.

Built on these principles, the strategy includes actions to:

  • provide intercultural training and mentoring for staff and students
  • build more culturally-inclusive physical spaces
  • develop more education pathways for Non-English-Speaking-Background students and refugees
  • connect international students more closely with curriculum and leadership
  • connect with community organisations around social cohesion and cultural awareness
  • strengthen research focused on community-building and intercultural engagement.

Read the full Cultural Diversity Strategy 2018-2021.

Cultural diversity at VU logo: enrich, celebrate, connect

Statement against racism & pledge

VU takes a stand against racism. 

Our Vice-Chancellor and President, Peter Dawkins, on behalf of VU, has made a statement on systemic racism, acknowledging the grief and pain this has caused to our First Peoples. 

Together with our community we work to ensure that human dignity and human rights are upheld, educational and vocational opportunities and participation are equal for all.

As part of VU's commitment to anti-racism, we have taken a pledge in the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria’s All One Together Campaign.

The Campaign seeks to highlight connections between all Victorians to reflect on the question – how we want to be together? And, finally, celebrate the great strides that the Victorian community has already covered in creating a socially inclusive, cohesive society for all.

We join other organisations as ambassadors: Welcoming Australia, Capire Consulting Group, Think HQ, Australian Conservation Foundation, Yarra Valley Water, and Football Victoria.

VU Cultural Diversity Champions

We are very proud of our VU Cultural Diversity Champions. They have been nominated as passionate cultural diversity ‘enablers’ from their respective areas in the teaching, learning and library areas of the University, to support building a strong inclusive culture.

First Year College

Joanna is a teacher in psychology, and also an early career researcher. She enjoys teaching the diverse group of students who attend Victoria University, and aims to be a good ally to students of all cultural backgrounds.

As someone whose research includes a focus on stigma (discrimination), she understands the need to provide extra support to ensure all people are on a level playing field at university. She aims to nurture the talents of undergraduates to help improve cultural diversity in academia, and the professional workforce more generally.

College of Arts and Education

Jean comes from a culturally and linguistically diverse background and has a knowledge of cultural inclusion practices by working within a range of settings; for instance, teaching at an international school in the Middle East, at a disability service, with marginalised youth, or with refugee adolescent mothers. Her doctoral study and consequent research explore school culture and the too-often made assumptions that can cause barriers to constructive relationships. At Victoria University, Jean teaches and develops units and programs in support of cultural inclusion, as well as illuminating the complexities.

"I believe cultural diversity adds richness to any collective and should be respected, valued and reflexively considered throughout one's life. Who am I? Who are we? How can we be better?"

College of Engineering and Science

Horace was born overseas and grew up surrounded by many cultures, out of which many lasting friendships were made. Horace has been privileged to study in a multicultural diverse environment gaining an insight into how the others live, interact, assimilate and socialise.

"My current teaching profession enables me to impart life experiences as well as professional expertise to a whole spectrum of students from different cultural, social and economic backgrounds with a common goal to work hard and succeed. Cultural cohesion is a cornerstone to stability, mutual understanding and respect. I hope my participation will contribute to enhance cultural diversity at Victoria University."

Library

Jennifer is a librarian who has been at Victoria University for many years, enjoying working in an environment which is accepting of those from many different countries and cultures. Libraries are places of welcome, learning, and connection.

"We need to see each other as individuals showing respect and understanding of difference, and to provide spaces and opportunities for everyone to feel welcome."

Libraries City

Rachel is a dedicated library professional, with over 25 years’ experience in post-secondary libraries. Having spent 15 years living and working in Mildura, she is acutely aware of the cultural divides that still exist in Australian society, particularly with regards to Indigenous Australians and asylum seekers. Libraries have always been a safe haven for students of all backgrounds and play a unique role in promoting and supporting cultural diversity.

"I’m a first generation Australian, of Welsh and German heritage. My Jewish grandparents escaped Germany in the 1930s for the UK, but they lost family members in Auschwitz. Additionally, my partner’s grandmother was a member of the Stolen Generation. Having this ancestral history I am passionate about cultural diversity and equality for all, and am determined to set a great example for my children. I have absolutely zero tolerance for discrimination and oppression and constantly strive to make my workplaces safe and enjoyable environments for all."

Victoria University Business School

Kim works as the Course and Unit Advisor for Victoria University Business School (VUBS) and has been at VU for the last four years, working across all campuses as a VUHQ Student Advisor.

"I am of Vietnamese background and my parents were among the first refugees that fled the Vietnam War to come to Australia. As a first generation Australian, I have seen the power of diversity and empathy within our community. At VU we're lucky to be surrounded by such a diverse group of staff and students and I am excited to support VUBS and our students in this role.

I hope to continue to promote a zero tolerance workplace against discrimination by providing a safe space for students and staff to voice any concerns."

College of Law and Justice

Hailing from multicultural Singapore, where he practised law for 14 years, Abdul Rahman scouted around before deciding to settle down in Melbourne in 2001 because of its vibrancy. He taught at Monash University and practised as a community legal centre lawyer where he encountered students and clients of diverse heritage, before joining Victoria University as a law lecturer in 2008. Malay by race and Muslim by faith, Abdul Rahman has a keen interest in comparative cultures and building bridges across different faiths, including non-religious creeds. He enjoys the even greater diversity at VU, which he reckons is one of the many pluses of the University.

College of Engineering and Science

Hao Shi was born and grew up in China. She obtained her bachelor degree in China before coming to Australia to complete her PhD. She has been in universities for nearly 30 years and interacting with students and staff from various ethnic, cultural, language, political and religious backgrounds.

As the course chair and site coordinator for China operations for the Bachelor of Information Technology within the College of Engineering and Science, she has been heavily involved in cultural and international programs and witnessed the importance of diversity and inclusion.

"As a wife, a mother, a first generation migrant from Chinese background and a full-time academic, I am passionate about promoting multiculturality and improving equity."

Cultural Diversity Champions provide a unique opportunity for her to contribute to building a culture with zero tolerance towards bullying, harassment and discrimination, and creating an accepting, inclusive, and safe place for students and staff community.

College of Health and Biomedicine

Anthony is a passionate teacher and researcher, holding his doctorate for nearly 20 years. His research laboratory holds students from various cultural, political and religious backgrounds, including Muslim, atheist, Christian and Hindu.

“As a first generation, Catholic male from Italian background, a dad, and a full-time employee at Victoria University, I understand the importance of equity and diversity in our multicultural environment. I feel privileged to be part of this initiative to help cement the significance of cultural diversity, so we feel accepted, inclusive, safe, important, valued and heard. Personally, I promote a zero tolerance for discrimination and oppression, which will inevitably build a better and happier workplace.”

Dr Jean Hopman:

"I believe cultural diversity adds richness to any collective."

 VU's computer science and engineering subjects shine in latest world rankings

Associate Professor Hao Shi:

"I am passionate about promoting multiculturality and improving equity."

Victorian Multicultural Commission Award

VU has won the Multicultural Business Award from the Victorian state government for our outstanding service to multicultural communities.

The formal recognition reaffirms our long-standing purpose to provide exceptional value for any student from any background while uplifting the many communities in which we operate.

It also points to VU’s incredibly diverse community that co-creates the sense of belonging and social cohesion that the University is well known for.

“Cultural diversity at VU is not just based on statistics – it has long been at the heart of the work we undertake each and every day with our students, colleagues, and the community.”

Cultural Diversity Manager Dr Teresa De Fazio

The award highlights VU’s formal Cultural Diversity Strategy with its many initiatives that advance a rich diversity of perspectives.

Ms Teresa Tija (former Vice President of Planning Registrar), VC Professor Dawkins & Cultural Diversity Manager Dr Teresa De Fazio

Days of cultural significance 2020 calendar

The calendar below indicates some Days of Cultural Significance observed in 2020.

January

  • 6 January: Ephiphany
  • 7 January: Orthodox Christmas
  • 10–12 January: Mahayana New Year
  • 14 January: Orthodox New Year
  • 19 January: World Religion Day
  • 25 January: Lunar New Year (Metal Rat)
  • 26 January: Australia Day / Survival Day

February

March

  • 1 March: Zero Discrimination Day (UN)
  • 8 March: International Women’s Day
  • 9 March: Labour Day
  • 9–10 March: Purim (Jewish)
  • 10 March: Holi
  • 17 March: St. Patrick’s Day
  • 20 March: International Day of Happiness (UN)
  • 21 March: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • 21-22 March: Isra and Mi'raj (Islamic celebration)
  • 21-29 March: Cultural Diversity Week (Victoria)

April

  • 2 April: Ramanavami (Hindu Festival)
  • 3-12 April: Victorian Youth Week
  • 6 April: International Day of Sport for Development and Peace
  • 7 April: World Health Day
  • 7-9 April: Theravada New Year (Buddhism)
  • 8–16 April: Passover (Jewish festival)
  • 12 April: Easter
  • 13 April: Baisahki (Hindu & Sikh religious festival)
  • 13-15 April: Songkran (Thai New Year)
  • 18 April: World Heritage Day
  • 19 April: Orthodox Easter
  • 22 April: Earth Day
  • 23 April: Start of Ramadan
  • 25 April: Anzac Day

May

  • 7 May: Vesak/Buddha Day
  • 15 May: International Day of Families (UN)
  • 16 May: International Day of Living Together in Peace
  • 17 May: IDAHOTB Day (International Day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia)
  • 21 May: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (UN)
  • 21 May: Global Accessibility Awareness Day
  • 24 May: Eid al Fitr (End of Ramadan)
  • 25 May: Africa Day
  • 26 May: National Sorry Day
  • 27 May: 1967 Referendum Anniversary
  • 27 May – 3 June: Reconciliation Week
  • 29-30 May: Shavuot (Jewish Festival)

June

  • 3 June: Mabo Day (Indigenous rights commemoration)
  • 14–20 June: National Refugee Week
  • 20 June: World Refugee Day

July

  • 1 July: International Tartan Day
  • 5 July: Dharma Day (Sikh/ Hindu)
  • 5-12 July: NAIDOC Week
  • 14 July: Bastille Day
  • 15 July: World Youth Skills Day
  • 18 July: Nelson Mandela International Day
  • 28 July–2 August: Hajj (Islamic Pilgrimage to Mecca)
  • 30 July: International Day of Friendship
  • 31 July - 3 August: Eid Al Adha (Muslim Festival)

August

  • 4 August: National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day
  • 9 August: International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
  • 12 August: International Youth Day
  • 19 August: World Humanitarian Day
  • 19-20 August: Muharram/Islamic New Year
  • 30 August: Wear It Purple Day

September

  • 10 September: World Suicide Prevention Day
  • 10 September: R U OK? Day
  • 17 September: Australian Citizenship Day
  • 19-20 September: Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year)
  • 19 September – 4 October: OktoberFest
  • 21 September: International Day of Peace
  • 23 September: International Day of Sign Languages
  • 27–28 September: Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement)

October

  • 1 October: International Day of Older Persons
  • 1 October: Mid-Autumn Festival
  • 2 October: International Day of Non-Violence
  • 5 October: World Teacher’s Day
  • 10 October: World Mental Health Day (WHO)
  • 25 October: Dusshera
  • 31 October: World Cities Day (UN)
  • 31 October: Dia de los Muertos (Mexico)/ Halloween

November

  • 10 November: World Science Day for Peace and Development
  • 11 November: Remembrance Day (Australia)
  • 13 November: World Kindness Day
  • 14 November: Diwali (Hindu Festival of Lights)
  • 16 November: International Day of Tolerance
  • 20 November: Universal Children’s Day
  • 25 November: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
  • 28 November: World Access to Higher Education Day

December

  • 3 December: International Day of Persons with Disabilities
  • 10 December: International Human Rights Day
  • 10–18 December: Hanukkah Jewish Festival of Lights
  • 18 December: International Migrants Day
  • 25 December: Christmas
  • 31 December: New Year’s Eve

This Calendar is not an exhaustive list of dates, faiths or cultural entities. It's aim is to provide you an opportunity to understand the range of days of cultural significance, supporting an inclusive understanding of the many faiths, cultures and entities, and the observances followed. We encourage you to follow your curiosity, research other dates and learn as much as possible about the many days of cultural significance that are observed by various cultures. All due care has been taken to represent correct dates at the time of publication.

Please note that only St. Patrick's Day has been listed from the many Saint days, as the calendar provides only a general sense of the breadth and scope of days of significance. Also, no national days (independence, republic, etc.) have been listed.

Victoria University Cultural Diversity Student Interest Group

Victoria University is seeking to establish a VU Cultural Diversity Student Interest Group.

If you would like to be part of this group, we'd love to hear from you!

As part of the Cultural Diversity group, you'll get to help us develop student intercultural interactions and opportunities:

  • participate in university and community events
  • attend meetings
  • drive initiatives
  • network with like-minded students and staff.

This is a great way to get involved in your community and grow your understanding of different cultures, while making new friends who share your interests.

Let’s get together to make a difference and create a culturally inclusive VU!

Complete the expression of interest form

Make new friends and create a better community for all with the Cultural Diversity Student Interest Group.

News & events

Events for & by our diverse community

Date: 
29 Jun - 28 Jan (214 days)
Location: Online
Date: 
5 Aug - 31 Jan (180 days)
Location: Online
Date: 
10 Aug - 11 Dec (124 days)
Location: Online via Zoom
Date: 
5 Oct - 8 Feb (127 days)
Location: Enter online