Asylum seekers to address discrimination conference

A conference organised by the University of Western Sydney and Diversity Australia will hear the personal experiences of asylum seekers and their children, including the painful story of a man who lost three young daughters in the SIEV X tragedy.

The 4D National Conference, held at UWS Parramatta campus on Wednesday 17th and Thursday 18th of July, will see a variety of leading academic and community leaders take a critical and personal look at diversity, disadvantage, discrimination and development in Australia.

Asylum boat

High school student Charlotte Akopian will recount her father's frightening journey from Iran to Australia, and Ahmed Alzalimi will recount the tragedy he experienced when he lost three of his children in the SIEV X tragedy.

The Dean of the UWS School of Social Sciences and Psychology, and lead researcher of the ground-breaking Challenging Racism Project, Professor Kevin Dunn, says culturally diverse societies require careful management.

"It is important to celebrate diversity, but we need to be vigilant for the misuse of diversity and difference," says Professor Dunn.

"Discrimination and disadvantage are social scourges that fade or flourish depending on political settings and leadership, and we need to activate everyday support for human rights and for inclusive understandings of our national identity."

The Chief Executive of Diversity Australia, Maqsood A Al-Kabir, says the conference will take a critical look at Australia's diversity and multiculturalism to create meaningful change.

"When the fear of difference takes root, lines are drawn down religious sides and the divides between culture, faith and language can prevent us coming-together," he says.

"The 4D National Conference has been designed to bring academics and the community together to help prevent division."


15 July 2013

Contact: Mark Smith, Media Officer

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