Social Cohesion: My Faith, My Business

Cultural competence and understanding the other are key issues in building strong, effective workplaces with diversity among the workforce. Much understanding and trust are needed for all to accomplish their goals – giving of goods and services, return on investment of time, talents and resources, and satisfaction with the goals of the work enterprise. In this presentation, an account is given of the faith and work presentations given to industry leaders, HR Managers and workplace leaders.

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Citizenship and Values

How do changes to government policy impact new arrivals’ communities and the celebration of people becoming citizens? This presentation by Chris Hazelman will explore the processes to become an Australian citizen, the complexity of citizenship laws in the context of individual experiences of new arrivals and the government’s proposed changes to the Australian Citizenship Test.

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Sport as a Social Connection Tool

Sport lends itself to community building and resilient communities. Sport gives individuals a sense of worth, belonging, participation and achievement. In this session, Sam Atukorala – AFL Diversity Program Ambassador, and Community Ambassador for Cricket Australia gives an overview of how Cricket and Football build strong individuals, strong communities.

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Future Voices: building young people’s skills, aspirations and connection to community



Future Voices Incorporated is a not for profit charity established in 2016, working with the diverse communities in Shepparton, Victoria to meet an identified need voiced by the newly arrived African refugee community. Research tells us that most extensive types of volunteer work conducted by refugees and humanitarian entrants involve helping with the settlement of their own communities. Future Voices has grown from this grassroots concept and from the community itself, with African community leaders, in developing the program concept. Critical to success has been the building of trust, listening to the real needs of the communities and helping them to make their ideas grow.
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2017 Social Cohesion Conference Welcome



On September 27, 2017 La Trobe University, partnering with the Shepparton Interfaith Network and the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District, presented Social Cohesion in the Goulburn Valley: Looking Back, Looking Forward, a conference to revisit the issues explored in the 2007 Conference and to consider the issues facing us today going forward as a regional community. On this page, we bring you the Conference Welcome from the sponsoring organisations.


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Inclusion, Diversity, Globalisation and Talent: a new perspective

One of the key issues of this conference were the emerging challenges due to factors that have largely remained unaddressed (eg employment, gender issues, religious, ideological or cultural beliefs and values which underpin some of the tensions), and to their likely impact on a socially cohesive Goulburn Valley in the future. Employment was the front and centre issue of this social cohesion conference. Andrew Keast of Refugee Talent gave an insight into how a dedicated agency puts strategies into place to aid refugees in gaining employment.

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Hazeldene’s: The Multicultural Workforce

Hazeldene’s is the biggest private employer in Bendigo with more than 900 employees and contractors, most of whom come from the area. This family business, which produces chickens for market from breeding to plate, has been operating for more than 60 years. It processes up to 680,000 chickens a week at Lockwood, with breeding and rearing farms, a hatchery, growing farms and a processing plant across Central Victoria. In this article, Ann Conway, People and Performance Manager at Hazeldene’s, outlines the history of the Chicken Farm, its multicultural workforce, what works – and what does not work – with a diverse workplace with over 900 employees and contractors.

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Hijack’d

Betul Tuna participated in the afternoon Panel Discussion: Employment enterprises – what’s successful? The following is a photo narrative which captures the spontaneity, vivacity and fun that Betul Tuna shared in her presentation on Hijack’d, a local small-business which builds on social cohesion with younger people in the community. The motto: Hijack’d, Nourish the Conversation.
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Overview of Social Cohesion

The United Nations defines a socially cohesive society where all groups have a sense of belonging, participation, inclusion, recognition and legitimacy. The most significant piece of work in Australia on social cohesion is conducted by the Scanlon Foundation.

On September 27, 2017, La Trobe University – partnering with the Shepparton Interfaith Network and the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District – presented Social Cohesion in the Goulburn Valley: Looking Back, Looking Forward, a conference to revisit the issues explored in the 2007 Conference and to consider the issues facing us today going forward as a regional community.

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2017 Social Cohesion Conference

In 2007, the Shepparton Interfaith Network in conjunction with Latrobe University and the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District conducted a seminal conference with the title, Cultural Diversity and Social Harmony – The Goulburn Valley Experience at Eastbank Centre, Shepparton.

On September 27, 2017 – ten years to the day of the 2007 Conference, La Trobe University, partnering with the Shepparton Interfaith Network and the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District, presented Social Cohesion in the Goulburn Valley: Looking Back, Looking Forward, a conference to revisit the issues explored in the 2007 Conference and to consider the issues facing us today going forward as a regional community.

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Interfaith Meet: Catholic, Muslim Scholars Cite Hope

Participants in the November 8, 2017, 4th Catholic-Muslim Forum “noted with satisfaction significant convergences between their respective traditions,” according to the statement released November 10, 2017, following the conference. “Such convergences constitute a motive of hope not only for Christians and Muslims but for all, favouring a meaningful collaboration for the promotion of integral human development.”

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The Halloween Monk

“TRICK OR TREAT!” the little voices shouted as the monk opened the door, then their eyes went wide. “What are you supposed to be?” they asked, looking up, amazed and befuddled by his costume.

“I am Buddhist monk!” he said, grinning. That didn’t quite register with the kids, who quickly shifted their attention to the candy on offer.

“Take more, take more!” he insisted. “We must give if we want to receive.”

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Faith-based approach to tackling domestic violence recommended at Adelaide symposium

Religious scholars and community bodies have called for faith to play a greater role in confronting the problem of domestic violence, saying religion is sometimes unfairly stigmatised as the underlying problem. Multi-faith leaders from around Australia are gathering in Adelaide to discuss an action plan with faith-based recommendations to support families experiencing violence at home.
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What is Meditation?

Phra Satit Thitadhammo delivered one meditation session on the morning of Saturday, 21 October at the Senior Citizens Centre, Welsford St, Shepparton. Phra Satit Thitadhammo is from the Dhammakaya Meditation Centre, Albury. He addressed the issue of mind, mind management, and methods of reaching awareness of the mind and moving beyond the mind. In this article, we consider several different types of meditation.

The word meditation covers a fairly wide spectrum of practices, from walking and eating meditation to mantra-based meditation. Some meditators find that one style works best for them—and they stick to it. Others like to experiment with the different styles. The important thing to remember is that one style isn’t better than another; they are all different and offer their own unique benefits.

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Heritage Open Day – Mosques and Gurdwara Tour


As part of Shepparton’s Heritage Open Day, the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District will conduct a tour of places of worship. The tour will visit several mosques and the Sikh Gurduara. The tour is free and a lunch will be provided. Bookings are required.

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Baha’i Celebrations

Spiritual celebrations are now coming to a peak across Australia as thousands of families, individuals and communities mark a special anniversary. From Tasmania to Thursday Island, from Sydney to Broome, members of the Australian Baha’i community are holding festivities to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah (1817-1892), the Prophet-Founder of the Baha’i Faith. In Shepparton, we greet Baha’i’s members of the Shepparton Interfaith Network and we greet all Baha’i followers everywhere on the occasion of this anniversary.
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Diwali – a festival of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains

Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs to mark different historical events, stories and myths. They all symbolise the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, hope over despair. In 2017, Diwali – Deepavali will be observed on Thursday 19 October.
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