We work with diverse communities and high schools to promote:

  • multiculturalism

  • social cohesion

  • equal opportunity.

In this section:

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.

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 cowen.centre@vu.edu.au.


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.

Delivered by the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre at Victoria University, in partnership with the Islamic Council of Victoria.

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 Hon. Justice Jennifer Coate, at the Faith-Based Governance & Dispute Resolution Conference.

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.