Multicultural community gathers for inaugural forum

Article image - Multicultural community gathers for inaugural forum Beverly Kabuya Muito, formerly from Kenya, now living in Buderim.

In partnership with the multicultural sector, Sunshine Coast Council hosted the inaugural Sunshine Coast Multicultural Conversations, spotlighting the region’s cultural diversity.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said the forum, held at the University of the Sunshine Coast, was significant for the community.

“The forum brings together the region’s sector agencies, allowing them to exchange information on current trends, advocacy and plans that support our growing multicultural community.

“The Multicultural Conversations Forum attracted renowned speakers and presenters including Keynote Speaker Professor Andrew Markus from Monash University and the author of the national 2015 Scanlon Foundation Mapping Social Cohesion Report.

“The agenda included presentations by leading specialists from Multicultural Affairs Queensland, Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland and Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland to name just a few.

“Importantly, the forum also shined the spotlight on three months of community engagement findings which will assist in the development of a region-wide Multicultural Action Plan.

“The action plan will increase the regional capacity of council and sector agencies to support the multicultural community and respond to the identified localised gaps, issues, trends and opportunities.

“I look forward to viewing the final action plan, a plan that can support the colourful fabric which makes our region so vibrant, rich and diverse.”

Mayor Jamieson said the Sunshine Coast had a growing multicultural population with one in every five people born overseas.

“Council wants to be sure that all Sunshine Coasters – no matter what their cultural background or circumstances – have the opportunity to be their best and to achieve social and economic prosperity,” said the Mayor.

“The Multicultural Conversations Forum was an action from the Sunshine Coast Social Strategy to develop actions and partnerships which recognised, valued and supported people from a multicultural background.

“The Multicultural Conversations project had a strong focus on community participation and empowerment and provided meaningful opportunities for sharing dialogue, knowledge and skills to ensure appreciation and understanding across the multicultural community, council and sector.

“There were a range of colourful multicultural stories which have been shared throughout the Sunshine Coast Multicultural Conversations project and some of those have been captured in a beautiful booklet. There are many more just waiting to be discovered.”

The Multicultural Conversations program is supported by Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services through the Celebrating Multicultural Queensland Grants Program.