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Symposium debates multiculturalism’s fitness for challenges of the 21st century

22 November 2010

International and Deakin University academics will take a closer look at the increasing trend among countries to ignore the core principles of multiculturalism and emerging questions about multiculturalism’s ability to deal with cultural and religious diversity and security risks at a symposium this week.

The 2010 International Multicultural Symposium - Comparative Multiculturalism from Transnational and Global Perspectives, organised by the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation will be held at Deakin University this Thursday 25 and Friday 26 November.

Speakers from Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia will explore topics such as why ‘the veil’ creates controversy whenever the topic is mentioned, the role of Islam in multicultural societies and the implications of ignoring the silent Muslim majority, the impact of religious and ethnic diversity in New Zealand and the experiences of ethnic minorities in the United Kingdom.

Centre Director, Convenor and Deakin University Chair of Migration and Intercultural Relations, Professor Fethi Mansouri said the timing of the symposium was particularly pertinent as the world debated immigration, the integration of new migrants into communities and the increasing mobility of refugees.

“Traditionally countries around the world have used multiculturalism as a policy and social response to encourage tolerance among people living in the host country and deal with the issues involved in helping new migrants to settle in,” he said.

“However multiculturalism has increasingly come under attack as a policy response with critics questioning its ability in these economic times to deal with cultural and religious diversity and security risks.”

Professor Mansouri said the principles of multiculturalism such as tolerance and inclusion were being sidelined as host countries strongly encouraged migrants to assimilate and adopt mainstream values of national identity.

“In response to this pressure migrant communities are increasingly challenging these notions of representation, national belonging and cultural identity.”

Further information:

Click here for a full program of the speakers and their topics

Conference venue: LT 9(N1.04), Melbourne campus at Burwood, 221 Burwood Highway, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

News facts
  • Symposium to look at increasing trend among countries to ignore the core principles of multiculturalism
  • Critics question ability of multiculturalism in these economic times to deal with cultural and religious diversity and security risks
  • Presentations include why ‘the veil’ creates controversy whenever the topic is mentioned

Media contact

Sandra Kingston
Deakin Media Relations
0422 005 485
sandra.kingston@deakin.edu.au

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1st December 2010