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    What’s happened to multiculturalism? Q & A Hosted by Borderlands Co-operative

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    Event description


    The federal government’s Multicultural Framework Review presents us with the opportunity to look back on the trials and tribulations of Australian multiculturalism, both as response to the racist history of the nation and as a policy framework aimed at sowing an alternative social cohesion. At the same time as this Review, the federal government has been pushing through the Migration Amendment Bill 2024; further criminalising seeking asylum, opening the door to indefinite detention, facilitating the separation of families, and empowering the Minister to ban all people from designated “concern” countries. And of course, multiculturalism and the impacts of racism have been brought into much sharper focus by the after effects of The Voice referendum.

    Panel Guests

    Con Pagonis

    Con has worked in public sector migrant and refugee settlement program management and multicultural policy development. He has worked with all three tiers of government: the federal Office of Multicultural Affairs, Immigration Department, Victorian Multicultural Commission, and the Municipal Association of Victoria. He now volunteers with the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria, Welcoming Cities and The Boite.

    Dr Vicki Couzens

    Vicki is the Vice Chancellor's Indigenous Research Fellow at RMIT. Vicki has worked in Aboriginal community affairs for almost 40 years. Her contributions in the reclamation, regeneration and revitalisation of cultural knowledge and practice extend across the ‘arts and creative cultural expression’ spectrum including language revitalisation, ceremony, community arts, public art, visual and performing arts, and writing.

    Gaetano Greco

    Gaetano has been a Darebin City Councillor since 2008 and former Mayor, with years of experience as a community activist for human rights, migrant workers and interculturalism. Currently FILEF president and a past board member of the Municipal Association of Victoria, Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre (Chair), Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (Deputy Chair) and a Multicultural Excellence Award recipient.

    Elizabeth Drozd OAM

    Elizabeth is the outgoing CEO of Australian Multicultural Community Services, which she has headed up since 2000. AMCS was founded by a group of community leaders who shared a vision of providing non-English speaking migrants with the same access to services and opportunities as other Australians. Elizabeth has vast experience working in community services and with CALD communities.

    Mohamed Mohideen OAM JP

    Mohamed is the Islamic Council of Victoria Vice President and a Commissioner with the Victorian Multicultural Commission. Mohamed is interested in multifaith and multicultural communities and working with community to address mental health, refugee rights and interaction between multicultural and Indigenous communities.

    Dr Jordana Silverstein

    Jordana is a Senior Research Fellow at the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness, Melbourne University Law School. She is the author of Cruel Care: A History of Children at our Borders and Anxious Histories: Narrating the Holocaust in Jewish Communities at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century. Jordana researches histories of statelessness, focusing on questions of belonging, nationalism, identity, historiography, sexuality and memory.

    Bwe Thay

    Bwe is the Deputy Chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission. Bwe works to develop the capacity of multicultural communities, with a focus on leadership development, education and employment outcomes. Bwe has held many leadership roles within Victoria’s multicultural sector and is an Attaché for the Mental Health Foundation of Australia. 

    Professor Marie Brennan

    Marie is the Chair of the Board, Borderlands Co-operative. She has a long history in education in schooling, departmental and university contexts. Marie is currently an Honorary Professor of Education at Victoria University and as a Professorial Fellow at Monash University is chair of the Inquiry into the Future of the Teaching Profession. She has been involved in several efforts to develop culturally responsive and inclusive education.

    Hoang Tran Nguyen

    Hoang Tran Nguyen is an artist working in social practice to address overlapping cultural histories and politics of place. His work has featured in arts festivals such as Due West, Big West, and Next Wave, as well as various galleries, such as ACCA, Buxton Contemporary and The Substation. Hoang is also a founding member of the Language in Community Festival and ViệtSpeak, a Vietnamese language advocacy organisation supporting community language programs and research.

    Closing remarks by Jacques Boulet, founder of Borderlands Co-operative.

    *Event will be filmed.

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