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What is stopping the world from fully embracing multiculturalism?

Multiculturalism is an essential part of Australia’s modern identity, and was the focus of a seminar of community leaders at USQ.

The USQ Multicultural Staff Network hosted ‘Challenges of Multiculturalism in 21st Century Australia - The Role of Local, State and National Leadership’, featuring presentations from Multicultural Affairs Queensland Executive Director Wayne Briscoe, Groom MP Dr John McVeigh, Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio, and USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie.

Each addressed the crowd of community members from a variety of cultural, religious, spiritual, educational, business and political backgrounds as well as USQ staff including Chancellor Mr John Dornbusch.

USQ Multicultural Staff Network Chair Professor Shahjahan Khan said the topic was of fundamental importance to Toowoomba and communities across Australia.

“We belong to a land of diverse backgrounds, from our Indigenous peoples to the latest arrivals of migrants and refugee,” he said.

“The term ‘multiculturalism’ refers to all of us, unified as a strong nation.”

Professor Khan said obstacles to multiculturalism could include lack of understanding of different cultures, leading to fear and failure to see the benefits of a unified country.

“Australia is a country of dreams and aspirations for almost 25 million very different people and it is only through awareness that we can all truly celebrate our uniqueness,” he said.

“Diversity brings economic benefit, cultural enrichment, and boosted connections in terms of the business and professional opportunities.

“This cannot be a one-off discussion, it must be an ongoing process to help all realise that the strength of Australia, as well as our future, is in the unity of its people.”

USQ proudly supports, values, and respects the wide variety of cultural identities, languages, and beliefs within the University.

USQ promotes multiculturalism and its benefits through various initiatives, programs and events including: Harmony Day, Multicultural Employee Network, Multicultural Multilingual Student Association, and Chat with the Locals (an opportunity for culturally and linguistically diverse students and staff to connect and practice English).

To learn more, visit www.usq.edu.au/about-usq/values-culture/diversity-inclusion/multiculturalism.

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Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio, Multicultural Affairs Queensland Executive Director Wayne Briscoe, USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie, Groom MP Dr John McVeigh and USQ Multicultural Staff Network Chair Professor Shahjahan Khan.