We work with diverse communities to promote:

  • multiculturalism
  • social cohesion
  • equal opportunity.

County Court Community Engagement Day

The second County Court Community Engagement Day was co-facilitated by the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre for the County Court of Victoria on 6 October 2019, following the development and delivery of the inaugural community engagement day in 2018.

County Court of Victoria Chief Judge Peter Kidd welcomed more than 20 community and support service leaders for a day of discussion and education. Participating leaders had the opportunity to:

  • learn about the County Court and its processes
  • gain crucial skills, resources and support to share their knowledge with their communities
  • challenge their thinking about the legal system and the role of judges in sentencing.

The SZCC was pleased to work with the County Court of Victoria to deliver the Community Engagement Days, which are a positive step towards improving the Court's connection with the Victorian community and increasing public awareness of the Court's work.

Faith-based training

The Sir Zelman Cowen Centre has expertise in working with multicultural and multi-faith communities. We host a range of events and specialised training programs.

Faith-Based Governance & Dispute Resolution Conference

The Faith-Based Governance & Dispute Resolution Conference was the first of its kind, bringing together community leaders, agencies, regulators and experts to consider best practice in governance and dispute resolution in light of the Royal Commissions.

This major event was attended by 340 delegates, from 17 different faith groups.

Delegates heard directly from two Royal Commissioners, representatives from government regulators, and expert governance and dispute resolution researchers and practitioners.

If your organisation is interested in attending future training on this topic, please email [email protected].

Aspire: Young Muslim Women's Governance & Leadership program

The Aspire program provides leadership and governance training to high-achieving young Muslim women. The program is designed to help young women become leaders and influencers within their own communities.


  • work with Muslim community organisations
  • improve a selected aspect of the organisation’s governance
  • develop their individual leadership skills.

Thirty two young women completed the 2017 and 2018 Aspire programs, which were delivered by the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre in partnership with the Islamic Council of Victoria.

The Sir Zelman Cowen Centre was awarded a grant from the Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation to deliver ‘Devolved Aspire’ for two more cohorts of young women in 2019 and 2020.  

The governance resources developed by the participants are freely available to download from the Aspire page on the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre website (see Activities & resources).

Legal training for Muslim leaders & imams

We delivered Australia’s first Muslim Leaders Education Program (MLEP) from 2016–2017.

MLEP was funded by the Scanlon Foundation and featured during the Australian Government's Community and Philanthropy Partnerships Week in 2016.

The Ripple Effect: Legal education for diverse faith-based communities

Faith-based organisations serve the needs of CALD, refugee and newly arrived communities. In 2018, SZCC received funding from the Victorian Legal Services Board to pioneer a community development model designed to build governance excellence in faith-based community organisations.

The project involves:

  • the creation of tailored and engaging resources on law and governance

  • trusted leaders from diverse communities trained to become ‘Community Facilitators’ in law and governance
  • workshops co-delivered by members of the community for their communities.

Enhancing legal knowledge: A train-the-trainer legal knowledge-sharing program for Brimbank’s CALD communities

Good legal information about aspects of Australian law does exist. However, it is not necessarily culturally accessible to CALD and newly arrived communities. In 2019, SZCC received funding from the Australian Federal Government to deliver a project that augments existing services and resources about law by training trusted community influencers to provide information about key areas of law back into their communities in Brimbank, Victoria.

The project involves:

  • creating culturally appropriate resources that provide answers to 'Frequently Asked Questions' on key aspects of law and the legal system
  • training six leaders to deliver workshops on 'Frequently Asked Questions' on key aspects of law and the legal system to their communities
  • piloting of a sustainable and scalable model with a view to expand the project to other local government areas (pending further funding).

Community governance training

Our community governance training programs help community leaders and organisations understand and adhere to best practice in governance.

We provide:

  • training for community leaders and organisations in governance (including complaint handling, good decision making, risk management and general community accountability)
  • tailored capacity building programs for community leaders on current issues such as family violence
  • faith-based dispute resolution training.

Past community governance training projects

In partnership with the Islamic Council of Victoria, we delivered Australia's first training program to imams.

The 12-week program covered aspects of:

  • commercial law
  • family law
  • marriage and divorce.

The program was developed to support Victorian imams in their quasi-judicial role on the Islamic arbitral body, the Mejlis.


  • Islamic Council of Victoria
  • Scanlon Foundation.


We partnered with the Islamic Council of Victoria to deliver a grassroots training program for 20 Muslim women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Participants were trained as peer-to-peer supporters of other women within their communities needing information and assistance with family law, including family violence issues.

The program continued in 2017 and the same group of women were trained to share their skills and knowledge with members of their communities at ‘Home Gatherings’, designed to create safe and informal spaces for open discussion on family law and family violence.

See an example of the Home Gatherings, a high tea aimed at empowering young Muslim women, featured in ABC News.


  • Islamic Council of Victoria
  • Women's Legal Service Victoria
  • Scanlon Foundation.