Conference Abstracts and Biographical Notes, N – Z

Social Diversity and Harmony Conference Cover

In 2007, the Shepparton Interfaith Network in conjunction with Latrobe University conducted Cultural Diversity and Social Harmony - The Goulburn Valley Experience at Eastbank Centre, Shepparton. Speaker bio's and Conference abstracts are given.




The following contains Speaker bios, Conference abstracts, and where permission has been granted, links to speaker talks and presentations. This page has abstracts N - Z.

Conference abstracts and biographical notes

Nanere, Marthin, Reimers, David, and Nsubuga-Kyobe, Apollo The role of events research in social development

Bendigo, in the heart of Victoria, is a unique heritage city and the annual Bendigo Easter Festival (BEF) an iconic event. Such events shape the character of the city, enhance social cohesion and promote well-being in the local community. Events also promote economic activity by stimulating income and output in the regional economy. This also reflects a key role of the capacity and impact of cultural festivals in enhancing social harmony in a culturally and diverse communities. The evaluation of the impact of such events presents an opportunity for University research staff to form ongoing partnerships with local government and to foster the processes of civic engagement. This paper analyses the process by which an ongoing research relationship with the local community can be built. It is based on, firstly, demonstrating mutual benefit, and secondly, building personal relationships to identify community needs and thirdly, developing a long term program to integrate the university staff and students with the local community.

Dr Marthin Nanere is a Marketing Lecturer in the School of Business, La Trobe University, Bendigo campus. He joined the School in late 2004. Prior to that, he was in charge of marketing lectures at the same university, Shepparton Campus for four years. He was trained and educated in Indonesia, Canada and Australia. His research interests include channel member relationships in the Victorian (Australia) fruit and agricultural industry, productivity measurement, issues related to green and genetically modified products in Australia, Canada and Indonesia, and community engagement in regional areas.

Norling, Jeanne, Enhancing opportunities and pathways

Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE is currently engaged in a project to identify barriers to pathways into further training and employment for students from newly arrived communities and to develop effective approaches to enhance the vocational focus of English language classes for these students.

Currently English language programs are effective in developing language skills for students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. However, evidence shows that these students are not progressing into further vocational training or employment at the expected rate.

While anecdotal information exists as to why this occurs, formal investigation of this issue was conducted to identify the impediments for students and develop strategies to address these.

Jeanne Norling is the Executive Officer: Koorie and Multicultural Education with Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE. She has extensive experience in developing strong community relationships and has been a driving force in the establishment of a range of integrated government projects across north east Victoria.

As Manager of the School Development Unit of the Hume Region in 2005-2006, Jeanne was responsible for school improvement and accountability, curriculum development, stages of schooling, student wellbeing, student disabilities, multicultural education and Koorie education.

Jeanne has worked as an Equal Opportunity Consultant, as manager of the former Benalla Forum, an ACE provider, and was Manager for the Victorian Government's Program for Students with Disabilities.

Jeanne is a trained secondary teacher. She was educated at Monash University (BSc, Dip Ed) and Melbourne University (Grad Dip Student Welfare, Grad Dip Ed Admin).

Nsubuga-Kyobe, Apollo,Capacity Building of the African-Australian Communities in Goulburn Valley

Studies on African-Australians' employment opportunities have identified certain barriers including individuals' skill-levels; limited/lack of recognition of overseas qualifications; language proficiency; local experience vs. time spent and knowledge acquired while in Australia; personal and some cultural characteristics; discriminatory practices and protectionism in some professions and other transformations in the labour market. This paper will focus on 'Capacity Building of the African-Australians' using triangulated methods of in-depth interviews and literature, proposing new and innovative ways for African-Australians to become better prepared on how to deal with issues and challenges of employment or human capital stagnation in Victoria/Australia.

Dr Apollo S. Nsubuga-Kyobe was born and completed all his undergraduate studies in Uganda where he worked for several years including Shell Uganda Ltd. He was a member of the national trade unions body [National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU) & Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union (ATGWU)] before arriving in Australia in 1986. He joined La Trobe University School of Economics as a Masters candidate in 1989, after completing a Graduate Diploma in Personnel and Industrial Relations at RMIT. He is now Lecturer in Business Management, School of Business, at La Trobe University Shepparton, and a member of several professional, academic, and community engagement agencies.

Completing his PhD in 1996, Apollo's research interests include the settlement of emerging communities particularly Africans in Victoria, the management of settlement services in regard to African-Australians in Victoria, community engagement, cross-cultural and diversity management.

Apollo is the founding Chair of the Goulburn Valley Africans Communities Association and Treasurer/Public Officer of the Goulburn Valley Ethnic Professionals' Association. He is widely published in journals including Migration Action and The Australasian Review of African Studies Journal. African Communities and Settlement Services in Victoria: Towards Better Service Delivery Models was published in 2002. In 2007 he received Victoria's Award for Excellence in Multicultural Affairs and recognition of contribution to Australia's first Regional Humanitarian Settlement Pilot Project in Shepparton.

O'Brien, Jane, Skilled Migration: challenges and successes

The Skilled Migration Program is assisting employers find people with skills that they can't find locally; attracting and retaining staff in a global competitive market has become a crucial part of this region's future economic growth. Establishing the pathways to employment for newly arrived skilled migrants and assisting in settlement for them and their families are part of that process. This presentation will give an overview of the program, some of the challenges we face and the approaches we take to try to overcome these challenges.

Jane O'Brien is the Goulburn Murray Regional Skilled Migration Coordinator based in Shepparton and working across Greater Shepparton City Council, Shire of Campaspe and Shire of Moira.

Jane has a business background and has recently returned to Shepparton after 15 years in the Northern Territory. The Skilled Migration Program is one option used to address skill shortages in regional Victoria. Jane is one of eleven coordinators across regional Victoria working to facilitate skilled migration to the regions and assist with the linking of skilled migrants to employers with job vacancies. The Skilled Migration Program has four main themes: working to attract and retain skilled and business migrants, engage business and communities, link migrant support services and strengthen partnerships across government, industry, community, education and service sectors.

Paisley, Kirsten, Sewing all the Way to Here: The Australian Afghani Embroidery Project

Sewing all the Way to Here is the outcome of the Afghani Embroidery Project organised by Shepparton Art Gallery, and funded by the Australia Council for the Arts. Over forty local Afghani and Australian women have worked together for the past year under the direction of professional artist Kate Durham, to produce this extraordinary exhibition.

Gallery Director Kirsten Paisley will discuss the project and its social impact. In particular how women have found commonalities in thread that span their cultural backgrounds thereby providing an opportunity for Afghani women to socialize with other Australian women, new migrants to connect to the community aiding social cohesion and cultural knowledge.

Sewing all the Way to Here demonstrates a wide variety of textile skills and approaches to materials, marrying traditional Afghani embroidery with experimental textiles. Embroidery techniques are practiced widely in Afghanistan, both in the making of clothes and the decorating of domestic spaces. This exhibition celebrates Shepparton's growing Afghani community, entwining their craft practices with other local artists work to produce a site specific art work with in the Community Gallery.

Kirsten Paisley (nee Lacy) completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Victorian College of the Arts in 1996 and went on to complete her Masters in Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne in 2004. Her thesis applied key themes in Michael Hardt's and Antonio Negri's text Empire, 2000 to contemporary Australian art, identifying new trends in politicisation. Kirsten completed an internship as a Curatorial Assistant on the 2004 Melbourne International Arts Festival before taking a traineeship as Assistant Curator/Registrar at Ballarat Fine Art Gallery where she curated two collection based exhibitions; Whatever Happened to the Revolution? Screen printing in the Seventies and Inhabited Territories: images of Indigenous people through the eyes of early explorers and a number of rehangs of the permanent collection.

Kirsten was the Curator at Shepparton Art Gallery (SAG) 2005-2007 where she was responsible for the exhibition program, the gallery's collections and permanent displays and for curating exhibitions. SAG has a community gallery which is dedicated to community driven exhibition outcomes and these include a number of CCD projects. Along these lines Kirsten secured an Australia Council grant to develop The Afghani Embroidery Project where local textiles artists are working with refugees settling in the region after detention on Nauru.

Kirsten was appointed to the position of Acting Director in January and in May appointed to the position of Director. In this role she has been responsible for establishing the Indigenous Ceramic Art Award, a biennale acquisitive award celebrating Aboriginal ceramic art across Australia and building on galleries' holdings in this area.

Pandher, Malwinder Singh and Singh, Gurmeet, The growth of Punjabi community in the Goulburn Valley: why and how?

Punjabis are the people who speak Punjabi language and belong to a very productive region of India and Pakistan called Punjab which in Punjabi language means land of five rivers. During the partition of India, Punjab was divided into western Punjab which went to Pakistan and eastern Punjab which went to India. Most of Punjabis we see in the other parts of the world are from Indian Punjab and are a predominantly Sikh population. Most of the Punjabis who have settled in the Goulburn Valley over the last thrity years fall into this category.

The first Punjabis to come to the Goulburn Valley were the farm workers who came here as pickers and pruners in big orchards around Shepparton. As the climate and landscape of this part of Victoria resembled that of Punjab, they felt at home in some ways. In 1982 two of these picker friends pooled their savings to buy a small orchard in Shepparton East - the start of the Punjabi settlement in the Goulburn Valley. Now there are more than 60 Punjabi families in the area, with about 24 of them owning orchards and the majority of other families also in orchard related works. In the last few years Punjabi professionals are also finding it attractive to come and settle in the area. This paper will discuss different aspects of successful Punjabi settlement in the Goulburn Valley.

Malwinder Singh Pandher is a Plant Breeder by profession, obtaining his Ph.D at Punjab Agricultural University, India. He worked for the Punjab Agricultural University in various research and extension jobs. Interacting with the farmers to bring about practice change was a substantial part of his job in India.

After migrating to Australia in 1997, his first job was with the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District as Ethnic Landcare Officer. He worked in close cooperation with different landcare groups and multicultural farmers in the area to raise awareness of the threat of rising saline water-tables and ways to control it. From 2001 he has been working as the Multicultural Facilitator, Department of Primary Industries, Tatura, where he works at the interface of different agencies and multicultural communities in the catchment providing better access to catchment and landcare services. He is President of the Panjabi Cultural Association, Shepparton and a board member of the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District Inc.

Parfett, Raylee, Come in from the CALD: 'No!' to barriers in service delivery

Before 2003 GVCHS had limited contact with the Migrant and Refugee communities in the Goulburn Valley. In 2002-03 Past Pieces, Positive Futures was implemented in Cobram with the Iraqi community. The project provided education, information and fun for the women and built connections and understanding between service providers, the new settling and wider communities. Sustainability was assured with the implementation of the Positive Futures Network (PFN) that has a membership of 23 agencies across shires and disciplines.

When the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) looked at developing a model of settlement in rural/region cities Shepparton was a logical choice. The Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Strategy (IHSS) pilot of settling 10 families from the Democratic Republic of the Congo commenced in late 2005. GVCHS is a member of the Settlement Planning Committee and provide the IHSS Shortterm Torture & Trauma counselling through Foundation House. The Community Health Medical Clinic opened in October 2005 and provides the Refugee Health checks and ongoing support by the Refugee Health Nurse. GVCHS has seen an increase in access by the new settling communities who are aware of the other programs and services available.

Raylee Parfett has been employed with Goulburn Valley Community Health Service (GVCHS) since early 2002. Initially employed as a Generalist Counsellor and Family Violence Worker, the experiences gained during the next 12 months in understanding violence, its impact on individuals and families and working with interpreters sparked Raylee's passion for equity in service delivery and Social Justice.

Keen to accept new challenges, Raylee jumped at the opportunity to be the project worker for the Past Pieces, Positive Futures project in Cobram with the Arabic speaking community. The project's success was acknowledged by winning the Victorian Healthcare Association and The Herald & Weekly Times "Leadership in Innovation in Health Award 2003". During the 12 months of the project Raylee completed extensive training in working with refugees, working with refugee survivors of torture and trauma and exploring the refugee experience and goals for recovery with Foundation House.

Raylee is currently working as the Short-term Torture & Trauma Counsellor as part of the Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Strategy (IHSS) pilot of settling 10 families from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Raylee is also part of the Senior Clinician team at GVCHS.

Piper, Margaret, Regional Settlement: what is needed to make it work?

If it is done right, regional settlement (of humanitarian entrants) has the potential to change the face of country Australia in terms of building harmony, understanding and respect.

These words, from a community member in Shepparton, reflect a sentiment held by many. But what constitutes "doing it right" when it comes to regional settlement?

Shepparton was the site of the first fully planned regional settlement initiative in which all three levels of government, as well as service providers and the community, worked together to settle 10 unlinked Congolese refugee families. Without doubt, the pilot program was a very positive experience for both Shepparton and the entrants and the success was due to the hard work and creativity of many people. Without a template to follow, they had to deal with issues as they arose and modify plans and programs accordingly. This paper is based on research conducted for the Department of Immigration in late 2006 which sought to identify the key lessons about service provision learnt from the Shepparton pilot and which are now being used to inform regional settlement initiatives in other locations around Australia.

Margaret Piper is a consultant with over 20 years experience working in the refugee sector. Currently her work primarily centres on research, training and capacity building in the area of refugee settlement. In addition, she maintains a keen interest in policy development and program planning through the various fora in which she participates. After acquiring both an honours and masters degree in education and beginning her career in teaching, Margaret worked for a number of years for Austcare, a specialist refugee aid agency. Through this work, she acquired an extensive knowledge of world events and the impact they have on the local population. She also learnt about the challenges and complexities of providing protection, support and solutions for people displaced by persecution and conflict.

In July 1991 Margaret became the Executive Director of the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), a position she held until December 2005. RCOA is the peak refugee agency in Australia and its core roles are research, policy analysis, advocacy and sectoral capacity building. As its Director, Margaret was heavily involved in each of these areas.

In her time at the Council, Margaret saw massive change in refugee policy in Australia and internationally, in particular in relation to refugee protection, asylum and detention and also in relation to enhancements in settlement support. She has followed these developments closely, regularly participating in both national and international fora and spending time as a visiting research fellow with the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University in 2003. She also conducted field research in many parts of the world including SE Asia, the Balkans, the Middle East and Papua New Guinea and is the author of numerous reports and studies. Her last works for the Council were position papers on the return of failed asylum seekers and complementary protection.

Margaret is a member of Refugee Resettlement Advisory Council, which advises the Minister for Immigration. She is also a life member of the Refugee Advice and Casework Service and sits on numerous advisory committees.

Polan, Mandy, Integration of international medical graduates

Mandy Polan has been employed at Goulburn Valley Health for the past ten years, and as Medical Resource Manager since 2002. Her role encompasses the recruitment, settlement, orientation and ongoing management of Junior Medical Officers, of which 93% are International Medical Graduates.

Mandy's position at GV Health affords her the opportunity to sit on several communities including the Regional Migration Incentive Fund Committee (RMIF), the International Medical Graduate (IMG) Subcommittee which is run through the Post Graduate Medical Council of Victoria (PMCV) and the HMO Managers Committee through the PMCV Cultural Diversity Committee at GV Health. She has been recently appointed to the Department of Human Services's International Medical Recruitment Workgroup whose objective it is to produce a recruitment brief. GV Health's IMG recruitment program recently participated in a DHS review conducted by Professor Ken Harding and has been nominated for a Victorian Public Healthcare Award.

Maria Presti was married by proxy in Sicily before migrating to Australia in 1960 to join her husband Felipe. She worked for a number of years around Shepparton before starting a family and retiring from the workforce.

Maria will tell her story of language struggles, the pain of isolation from family and village friends, her Australian neighbours' friendship and support and the shock of discovering a different kind of Catholicism in Australia.

Purcell, Frank, Religion and social cohesion in Australian society

This paper explores the ambiguous relationship of religion and violence, the direct role religion can play in causing division in societies, and its vulnerability to manipulation by 'engineers of violence'. On the other hand it also shows how religion has the potential to foster that altruism, tolerance and compassion which is essential for building social harmony in a culturally diverse multi-cultural community.

Historically, the mainstream religions in Australia saw religious beliefs and values as important for society and social cohesion. Through offering those beliefs and values to this society, the Christian Churches made a significant contribution to the development of the Australian culture and way of life - especially in the development of health, education and welfare services for the poor. Religion also played a role for a number of ethnic groups, giving them a sense of cohesion and identity, moral rules and organisation as a subculture within Australian society. (CRA Research Reports)

Fundamentalist religious groupings, be they Christian, Muslim or Hindu, tend to be more exclusivist in interpreting their relationship with God and tend to be less open and less tolerant of others. On the other hand, mainstream religious have reinterpreted the concept of mission in a way which acknowledges the presence of God's spirit at work in other denominations and religions. This has resulted in much greater openness on the part of mainstream religious groups to interaction, greater understanding and tolerance towards other belief systems. Shepparton's Interfaith Network is the fruit of that interaction and willingness to work together.

Dr Frank Purcell completed a Doctorate of Theology in Rome in 1959, worked as a missionary priest in Japan till 1970 and became Organising Secretary of the Glencree Centre for Reconciliation in Dublin Ireland from 1973-1975. On his return to Australia he resigned from the Catholic priesthood and worked in various community services until his retirement in 1996. That year he began sessional tutoring and lecturing in Australian Politics and History at La Trobe University's Shepparton Campus and is currently undertaking a Ph D in Politics. Frank is a member of the Shepparton Interfaith Network and the Shepparton Region Reconciliation Group.

Russi Angie and Robson, Rob, Multi-cultural communities, arts projects and 'Community Cultural Development': ambitions and practicalities

Arts and Community Cultural Development projects which engage with the 'multi-cultural' community are often conceived with high ideals and lofty objectives. To quote from funding applications we have written ourselves, they 'aim to give voice to cultural diversity, to allow people to share their cultural heritage, to promote cross-cultural and community harmony.' Often, we claim they will assist with developing community cohesion and provide opportunities 'to build self esteem', but what really happens in these projects and how can we measure the outcomes anyway?

Angie Russi will talk about some of the practical experiences behind the conduct of a number of arts projects she has led, while Rob Robson will discuss the aims and objectives that are proposed in the funding/application process and compare these with the measurable outcomes that are achieved.

Rob Robson has had a life-long association with the performing arts, a connection that has directed much of his personal and professional life and led ultimately to his current employment as inaugural Manager of the City of Greater Shepparton Riverlinks Complex. Responsible for Performing Arts and Conventions for the City since 2001, he is also convenor of the Council's Community Arts Advisory Group, and Artistic Director and Board Member of the SheppARTon Festival. Prior to his current position, he was a teacher for the Victorian Education Department for 27 years and instrumental in the establishment and development of the WestSide PAC facility for Mooroopna Secondary College in 1997.

He is currently Chair of the Victorian Association of Performing Arts Centres (VAPAC) and Board Member of Regional Arts Victoria and Arts Management Advisory Group (AMAG). Rob is a welcome recent addition to La Trobe University's Shepparton Regional Advisory Board and holds a seat on Arts Victoria's Multicultural Arts Policy Advisory Committee. He has had success as a theatre director, designer, actor and writer, reflected in his life membership of Shepparton Theatre Arts Group. His third musical, The Soldier's Wife premiered in 2004.

Angie Russi has been a practicing professional artist since 1981, specialising in 3D works. Working as a studio artist till 1997 Angie has exhibited and sold her work nationally, including a number of public artworks in Shepparton the most well known of which is 'Common Ground' Mural in the central mall in 1997.

Angie moved into collaborative art-making with communities in 1998 and now works with small rural communities, schools, festivals, aged care facilities and culturally diverse groups on short term art-making projects that explore themes of cultural identity; celebrate past, present and vision possible futures; celebration/acknowledgement of a sense of place and our connections to it and one another. Many projects have seen outcomes in permanent public artworks and others in community ritual theatre and ephemeral artworks.

Angie has collaborated with other artists, created networks between organizations and worked across disciplines to facilitate many projects. She is happy to work with communities across the region. Angie is currently a part time Education Officer at the Shepparton Art Gallery and working towards her Master of Community Cultural Development at Victorian College of the Arts.

Ryan, Helen, Valuing Diversity - piloting a 'culturally inclusive' literacy program in the Goulburn Valley

Research in education indicates that there is a correlation between social disadvantage and literacy - if a society does not value the language group or sub culture the family belongs to, the students are at risk. Research has also shown that curriculum imbalance favours one group's structures of knowledge, and ways of viewing and relating to the world, over others.

Making A Difference is a pilot program working through a supportive framework to engage our mainstream communities to achieve richer, more sustainable relationships.

The Multicultural Policy for Victorian Schools prime target in 1998 was that by 2006:

' ... all students will have multicultural perspectives delivered across all eight key learning areas ... and incorporated into all aspects of school life'.
Reflective discussions should include considering who benefits from current practices and how these practices might be changed. In order to intervene successfully it is necessary to identify the changes in mainstream society that drive a need for change to include Indigenous culture in an affirming way in education systems, media, community attitudes and government-led policies through curriculum.

This presentation will canvas these ideals and explore the reality as evident in Making A Difference.

Helen Ryan's first teaching position was in 1972 in the Tiwi Islands. She has been involved in many 'Call For Social justice' issues through the media Currently working as qualified CALD teacher at Bourchier St Primary School where she is piloting a 'culturally inclusive' literacy program Making A Difference. Helen holds a Master degree in Ed (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and organises HARMONY DAY celebrations for schools and communities in Goulburn Valley area.

Sampson, Robyn, Producing a multicultural society in regional Victoria: the role of Iraqi settlement and implications for future policy

Seven years ago, multiculturalism was a central concept in Australian social policy. Historically, this concept has always had at least two applications. On the one hand, multiculturalism has been a theoretical construct used to imagine a harmonious yet culturally diverse society. On the other hand, it has been a federal policy established to encourage mainstream services to cater for a culturally diverse population by ensuring equal access and participation.

Using research undertaken in Shepparton in 2000, this paper will outline the ways in which 'multiculturalism' was put to use by service providers and Iraqi refugees to increase the accessibility of mainstream services and to promote social harmony by incorporating Iraqi settlement within the existing concept of Shepparton as a multicultural regional centre. More recently, the concept of multiculturalism has been replaced at a federal level by a new emphasis on 'citizenship' which down plays cultural diversity and highlights the unity underpinned by national allegiance. Shepparton's future, like its past, will depend on its ability to protect and develop structural equity for all its residents and to reinvigorate, within the new rhetoric of citizenship, its self-image as a diverse community which welcomes the potential contribution of new residents.

Robyn Sampson undertook research in Shepparton in 2000 for her honours degree in cultural geography. Her thesis was entitled Producing a multicultural society in regional Victoria: Iraqi refugee settlement in the City of Greater Shepparton and District.

For the past three years, she has been working at the Refugee Health Research Centre at La Trobe University on a variety of projects exploring health and wellbeing among refugees and asylum seekers in Australia.

Sivamalai, Sundram, Training and education of service providers on cultural sensitivity for the migrants in rural Australia

Service providers in some rural Australian communities are facing an increase in migrants seeking services. As the cultural diversity of the new settlers to rural Australia is increasing, so do the challenges in servicing them in a culturally sensitive manner.

This session will explore issues that relate to cultural sensitivity in serving migrants in rural settings, outlining strategies to train and educate rural service providers on cultural sensitivity.

Dr Sundram Sivamalai is a registered nurse and nursing educator, has been employed at the University of Ballarat in various positions including Lecturer and Selection Officer of the School of Nursing, since 1988. Dr Sivamalai is currently taking part in the Social and Professional Integration of Overseas Trained Doctors (OTD) in Regional Victoria project, undertaken in partnership with DHS, City of Ballarat, Ballarat Division of GPs and Ballarat Health Services. He also holds several positions including those of Deputy Chair-Regional and Executive Member of the Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia.

Stewart, Jann, The religious factors assisting or blocking the successful social and economic participation of the various migrant groups in the wider community

This presentation will consider broadly the possibilities of how a spiritual setting might assist migrant groups' social and economic participation. Discussing some of the blocks for these groups and how they might be overcome, the paper will explore a model to show the value of interfaith services in supporting social and economic participation for migrant groups. The presentation will also ask what an Interfaith Service looks like and include a wider look at shared spirituality.

Dr Jann Stewart has been teaching for 30 years in primary, secondary and tertiary education and has Master's degrees in Education and Special Education. A qualified social worker, Jann is a counsellor, educational consultant and tutor working in Albury/ Wodonga. Obtaining Honours in Theology from Moore College Sydney in 1993 and a Lay Minister in the Uniting Church, Jann recently completed her Ph D in Women's Spiritual Studies at the Interfaith Seminary in USA and is hoping to facilitate interfaith services in the Albury area in the near future.

Taylor, Janet, Refugees and regional settlement: balancing priorities

Both the Federal Government and the Victorian State Government have policies to encourage migrants and refugees to settle in regional areas to assist the newcomers gain employment and to help build regional economies.

A study was undertaken by the Brotherhood of St Laurence to explore the experiences of two recent refugee groups (Iraqi and Sudanese) and their settlement in selected areas of regional Victoria (Shepparton, Colac and Warrnambool) and to examine factors that promote settlement in such areas. Interviews and consultations were undertaken in mid 2004 with some 54 Iraqi and Sudanese refugees and 22 community leaders and service providers.

Most of the refugees in the study had moved from capital cities to the regional areas, however some had arrived direct from overseas or from detention centres. The study considers their reasons for choosing a regional location and the factors that helped them feel 'at home' and also the difficulties they faced. This presentation will outline some of the findings and recommendations from the report Refugees and regional settlement: balancing priorities (Taylor & Stanovic 2005) and ask how these relate to the Goulburn Valley's more recent experience.

Janet Taylor is employed as Research Coordinator at the Brotherhood of St Laurence. With a background in social work and sociology she has worked as a social researcher over a number of years with a particular interest in child and family issues. She has also undertaken research studies on immigrants, health needs, young people, unemployment and attitudes to poverty. Her projects at the Brotherhood have included the longitudinal Life Chances of Children Study and the Understanding Poverty Project. Janet has worked at the Brotherhood since 1988. Janet has a Master of Arts degree in sociology from La Trobe university and also holds a Bachelor of Arts and Diploma of Social Studies from Melbourne University.

Townsend, Robert, Adult education, social inclusion and cultural diversity in regional communities

This paper presents the outcomes of recent research into adult education programs and experiences in the Shire of Campaspe, a region in northern Victoria. Vignettes of people from diverse cultural backgrounds explore how individuals can utilise adult education as a space to explore their own social and cultural isolation in a regional context. The vignettes reveal patterns of migration, internal population mobility, social isolation and cultural identity within the context of this one regional Shire. The paper analyses the roles that adult education providers play in creating specific kinds of space for people to explore these issues while interacting with informal and formal structures and processes of adult learning. Adult education programs and practices can play an important role in providing space for the examination of social, cultural and economic experiences. However, individual adult education organisations manage their spaces and programs in such a way that excludes some people from social and economic activity crucial to the development of individual and community social capital. Adult learning policies, programs and practices in regional communities need to address the holistic nature of adult learning for people from culturally diverse backgrounds in order for the development of sustaining social capital for individuals, families and communities in Australian society.

Rob Townsend lives in the central region of Victoria and is currently in the final year of an APA scholarship at Victoria University completing his PhD research into adult education in regional communities. Rob lectures in Social Work and Social Policy at La Trobe University, Bendigo and works with a number of community adult education providers. He is particularly interested in how access to all Australian adult education programs can be delivered via experiential learning frameworks that enhance the diversity and harmony of all communities and societies.

Trevaskis, Bernie, Working together for the disadvantaged across faith communities

The St Vincent de Paul Society is a lay catholic organisation made up of volunteers and a small number of professionals. Local parish groups known as Conferences meet regularly to provide mutual support, spiritual reflection and discuss how best to respond to the needs of the local people who need assistance.

Conference members visit people in their homes or in Centre Assistance Areas and provide material assistance, support and friendship to people in need in the local area. In recent times Conferences have assisted many refugees, mainly Congolese and Sudanese, settle into the Goulburn Valley area. In order to provide the material aid, volunteers work in the Society's 94 Centres of Charity assisting with the provision of furniture, clothing and household goods as well as raising funds to support the Conference activities. This presentation will explore the experiences of local St Vincent de Paul officers and their response to assisting people from migrant and other minority groups.

Bernie Trevaskis is the St Vincent de Paul Goulburn Valley Regional President. He has been a volunteer Conference member of the Mooroopna Conference and a volunteer worker at the Mooroopna Centre of Charity for the past nine years. He held the position of Conference President of the Mooroopna Conference for three years and secretary of the Mooroopna Centre for the past 4 years. Prior to retirement and joining the Society, Bernie was a Primary School Teacher or Principal in the Goulburn Valley for 38 years.

In 1993 he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his 15 years as volunteer coordinator of junior football and junior cricket in Mooroopna where there were up to 250 juniors playing both sports during this period.

Vainshtein, Klaudia, Effective communication as a strategy for successful participation by CALD elderly

The Australian population is ageing. Within the ageing population the proportion of people from the culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD) is increasing and becoming more diverse. There is a growing need to improve communication with CALD elderly and their families. Through effective communication service providers can prepare themselves to appropriately respond to the needs of their clients. For clients it means an improved access, choices and participation.

This presentation will focus on practical communication strategies in reaching out to elderly people to assist services to improve their communication with clients from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. It is based on findings from the extensive work done by the Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing through its 105 information sessions to 3600 elderly people in Victoria and six community consultations conducted in the last two years.

Klaudia Vainshtein is a passionate educator, who has developed and implemented many educational programs for the aged care industry, children's and career development services. Currently the Senior Project Officer Education & Training Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing, Klaudia has been successful in delivering aged care information sessions to Victorian seniors from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. In the last three years she has delivered more than hundred information sessions to 3600 people. Klaudia also has been conducting numerous community and aged care providers consultations and cultural awareness training to the aged care industry.

van Fondern, Sigrid, Aged care service provision in the Goulburn Valley: how responsive are our services to the needs of elderly from culturally different backgrounds?

The CALD population is ageing at a significantly higher rate than the Australian-born Population. With the increasing number of elderly from a culturally and linguistic background, service providers face unique challenges to meet their needs.

This paper will explore how different programs have contributed to a change in service delivery, capacity building between service providers and communities and how barriers to accessing services can be overcome. The paper will outline some of the achievements and changes in service delivery as well as initiatives that have supported service providers in their responsiveness to the needs of the ageing CALD population. It will also argue for the continued and increased effort by government and policy makers to provide the support needed to maintain the resources required to achieve change.

Sigrid van Fondern is currently working as an Access and Equity Worker for the Regional Information and Advocacy Council in Shepparton. In this role she has conducted training sessions in the area of language service provision and cross-cultural awareness for health care providers as well as educational information sessions on HACC services for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities. Sigrid has worked in the HACC and CALD aged care sector for six years and has been involved in many state-wide committees, influencing major policy changes. She has also influenced changes in service provision to the benefit of elderly CALD through initiatives and programs that are responsive to the needs of the ageing CALD.

Sigrid migrated to Australia in 1983 and has a Bachelor of Arts in Linquistics from Edith Cowan University in Perth.

Woodlock, Rachel, Integrating Iraqis: a case-study of Iraqi Muslim migration to Cobram, Victoria

From the 1990s onwards, Iraqi Muslims began to settle in Cobram, a rural town in Moira Shire, on the northern Victorian border. The host community, which has a long history of multicultural settlement, conducted a series of projects and services to welcome the new migrants, educate the broader community, and assist the Iraqis to integrate into life in Cobram, including running the highly-successful A Country Welcome project, which won a Premier's Award for Community Harmony in 2002. In turn, the Iraqi community was concerned to alleviate local fears in reaction to global crisis events involving Muslims; and has continued to participate in a variety of local initiatives including Harmony Day activities.

Nevertheless, a number of difficulties in assisting the integration of the new migrants have arisen, due to a variety of factors. These include lack of adequate and continued funding for programs; tension between 'assimilationist' versus 'multiculturalist' paradigms in the local community; as well as mismatched expectations for employment of Iraqi migrants. This paper will discuss the various efforts made by the host Cobram community and the Iraqi migrants to promote integration and consider issues that have arisen from Cobram as a 'case-study' for Muslim migration to a rural area.

Rachel Woodlock is a PhD candidate and researcher at the Centre for Muslim Minorities & Islam Policy Studies (CMMIPS) in the School of Political and Social Inquiry, Monash University. Her PhD research looks at how Australian-born Muslim women define themselves and their place in society, as part of a broader Linkage project looking at the hopes and aspirations of Australian Muslims. Her general research interests include social cohesion, gender issues, religious conversion and multifaith dialogue. She has conducted training seminars for young Muslims in Australia and New Zealand for the Islamic Education Trust and writes for the Faith column of The Sunday Age.

1,638 total views, 5 views today

1629 Total Views 1 Views Today