Intercultural Cities Australasia Symposium

As part of the Intercultural Cities Australasia Summit 2019, we were pleased to host the Intercultural Cities Australasia Symposium on Wednesday 31 July. It was attended by over 250 delegates. Keynotes Irena Guidikova (Head of Division, Council of Europe) and Kristen Hilton (Victorian Human Rights Commissioner) were joined by diverse speakers from the Institute for Economics and Peace (Sydney), International Storytelling Centre (Tennessee, US), and several Victorian and local initiatives to deliver an engaging and informative programme. 

This symposium was part of a three day collaborative summit delivered with Australia's two other Intercultural Cities - City of Maribyrnong and City of Ballarat.

Photos from the Symposium

Intercultural Cities Australasia Symposium program 


Time Topic/Theme Speaker/Presenter
 9.40am  Tri-Mayoral Welcome  

Cr Bob Turner, Mayor City of Melton

Cr Martin Zakharov, Mayor City of Maribyrnong

Cr Samantha McIntosh, Mayor City of Ballarat



Is Intercultural integration a radically new approach?


Irena Guidikova, Head of Division, Inclusion and Anti-discrimination Programming, Council of Europe


Minority voices in intercultural places (policing, schools & community)


Akuot Martin Majier, New & Emerging Communities Liaison Officer, Victoria Police

Robert Aduer Ring, Community Liaison Officer, Melton Secondary College

Tigist Kebede, Board Member, African Think Tank


A Pot of Courage: from intercultural support group to social enterprise


Presented by Joy Juma, Nyibol Deng & Shiree Pilkington from A Pot of Courage, a Ballarat-based Incorporated Association.

 11.00am  Morning tea


Regulating racism: impacts, challenges and engaging Victoria’s multicultural and multi-faith communities


Kristen Hilton, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner


Exploring Melbourne’s superdiversity through data visualisation

Alan Gamlen, Head of Human Geography, Monash University

Storytelling: a force for social change


Kiran Singh Sirah, President of the International Storytelling Center

 1.00pm  Lunch
 2.00pm An Introduction to Inclusive Australia  Sarah Rush, National Partnership Manager, Australia Post
   Positive Peace Academy  

Charles Allen, Director of Partnerships, Institute for Economics and Peace


Joining the dots of humanity and multiculturalism - one dinner at a time


Sunita Waghmode, Local Facilitator Joining the Dots – Welcome Dinner Project

 3.15pm  Afternoon tea
 3.45pm  In conversation with Rafael Epstein  

Irena Guidikova, Head of Division, Inclusion and Anti-discrimination Programming

Sonia Vignjevic, Victorian State Director, Settlement Services International

Ahmet Keskin, Executive Director of the Australian Intercultural Society

Dr. Mimmie Claude WattsDirector of Akirteh Institute of African Studies hosted by Melbourne Polytechnic and Commissioner, Victorian Multicultural Commission 

Lynda Ford, Director, DiverCities Network Australasia

 4.25pm  Closing remarks  Rafael Epstein


Symposium Speakers


The host of one of the top rating Drive programs on ABC Radio Melbourne, Rafael has spent more than 20 years as a journalist and broadcaster interviewing Prime Ministers and Premiers to famous novelists and popstars.



Immigrated to Australia from Dundee, Scotland, in 1989 with his family and settled in Melton in 1990. Cr Turner is passionate about the wellbeing of the City of Melton community and is a strong advocate in the areas of health, education and transport.



Now in her third term as Mayor, Cr McIntosh is responsible for delivering a strategic vision for the City of Ballarat focusing on job creation, investment and essential services.



Has served the community of the City of Maribyrnong as a councillor for 10 years. Cr Zakharov is passionate about improving public transport infrastructure.



A graduate of Political Science and Political Philosophy, Irena is leading the inclusion and anti-discrimination programs of the Council of Europe. She was the coordinator of the World Forum for Democracy (2013-2017), gathering over 2000 decision-makers and practitioners annually to develop and mainstream the know-how of participatory and deliberative democracy.



New & Emerging Communities Liaison Officer, a community engagement initiative fostering a positive and healthy relationship between members of the emerging communities and the Victoria Police.



Community Liaison Officer at Melton Secondary College. Robert is driven by his passion for community, especially through capacity development approaches.



With extensive experience as a counsellor, advocate, facilitator and guest speaker Tigist understands the societal, systemic and institutional oppression that exists for people of colour.



Registered nurse, midwife and infant massage therapist. Through Women’s Health Grampians, Joy is also an Equality for All advocate. 



Part of the Unstoppable Women project in Ballarat, Nyibol is very proud to have a chapter in the book, “It Takes Courage – sharing secret recipes and stories from our homelands”.



Identifies as Maori-Croatian, and has lived in Australia since 1990 with a strong interest in the arts, teaching, training, and advocating for adults.



Completed a Law/Arts degree at Melbourne University and is a Churchill Fellow. As Victoria’s Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner since 2016, Kristen has been leading the Commission’s work in creating a rights respecting culture within organisations, governments and communities.



The Associate Professor of Human Geography at Monash University. Alan received his Doctorate (in Human Geography) from the University of Oxford as a New Zealand Bright Future Scholar.



President of the International Storytelling Center, and has developed a number of award-winning peacebuilding programs across the UK. Kiran is an advisory member to UNESCO and a Rotary Peace Fellow.



Community Relations Manager at Australia Post with strong experience in public relations and partnership management at organisations such as Foster’s, AFL and Hill and Knowlton.



The Director of Partnerships with the Institute for Economics and Peace. Charles was recently awarded the Australian Police Medal, a Division of the Order of Australia.



Migrated to Australia from India in 1986. Sunita joined the Welcome Dinner Project in 2016 and became a local facilitator in 2017.




The Victorian State Director at Settlement Services International. Sonia is an executive manager with over 20 years of experience in the multicultural, migration and resettlement.



The Executive Director of the Australian Intercultural Society and one of the co-founders of Affinity Intercultural Foundation and a NSW Centenary ANZAC Ambassador.



Convenor of the African Diaspora Women Summit, Academic, Consultant, Public Speaker, Entrepreneur and a Commissioner to the Victoria Multicultural Commission.



The Director of iGen Foundation, a charitable organisation promoting interculturalism and entrepreneurship in Australasia. Lynda is an Intercultural Cities Expert with the Council of Europe.



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