ADI Director to provide key insights at first Research Institute on Social Cohesion forum

30 November 2016

Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation Director Professor Fethi Mansouri will be a key panellist in a discussion in December, looking at the challenges Government, academics and community organisations face when working together on matters relating to the managements of cultural diversity and social cohesion.

The panel discussion on Thursday 1 December 2016 is part of the first forum being run by the State Government’s Research Institute on Social Cohesion (RIOSC).

The forum will be opened by the Deputy Premier, The Hon James Merlino and facilitated by the Chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission, Ms Helen Kapalos.

Panel members include Professor Mansouri, Director of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation and who also holds the UNESCO Chair for Cultural Diversity and Social Justice, Emeritus Professor Gary Bouma from Monash University and Professor Michele Grossman, Director, Centre for Cultural Diversity and Wellbeing at Victoria University.

Professor Mansouri said the RIOSC inaugural panel was a significant milestone for RIOSC – a State-led initiative to build community resilience and social cohesion and prevent violent extremism

“The Institute is premised on the view that a collaborative approach is essential if we are to solve issues relating to social cohesion or violent extremism,” he said.

“No sector, institution or organisation can achieve this alone.”

“The Institute is also keen to ensure that the initiatives which are developed to address these issues are created with active and meaningful input from communities, academia and Government.”

Professor Mansouri said key questions the panel will be addressing include how to develop research with communities rather than research on communities.

“One of the overriding commitments by myself and colleagues here at Deakin University’s Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI) is that we develop true partnerships with communities, civil society organisations and government,” he said.

“We believe a genuine partnership approach is needed so that our research has practical outcomes and empowers those involved.”

Professor Mansouri said in the context of ADI’s global research agenda, ADI researchers work collaboratively with research colleagues not only here in Australia but often in parts of Africa, South East Asia and the Pacific to produce knowledge.

“This way we know the knowledge that is produced relates back to them rather than us projecting on to them the images of what we think they are doing in a particular area,” he said.

In the context of projects based in Melbourne or within Australia, a similar approach applies.

“We have, over many years, built strong personal and institutional relationships with migrant communities and organisations such as Australian Intercultural Society, Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria, the Centre for Multicultural Youth, Kultour, the Centre for Muslim Women Human Rights, the Scanlon Foundation, the Red Cross and a number of local councils and government agencies including the Victorian Multicultural Commission and the Australian Multicultural Foundation.

“We do this to ensure we understand the complexity of the challenges our communities and various other stakeholders face and that our research and expertise provides relevant insights and tangible solutions to their concerns.”

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ADI Director to participate in the Research Institute on Social Cohesion's inaugural panel discussion, discussing how to develop research with communities.

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