It's An Honour As A Matin Of Fact

A Deakin University academic has been added to Victoria’s Multicultural Honour Roll in recognition of her tireless work serving Geelong’s Multicultural community.

Dr Matin Ghayour-Minaie, a Research Fellow in Deakin’s School of Psychology, was the sole addition to the roll in 2017, endowed last night by Victorian Governor the Honourable Linda Dessau AC at Victoria's Multicultural Awards for Excellence. Fellow Deakin School of Psychology colleague Dr Lata Satyen also received an Award for Meritorious Service to the Community at the ceremony. Victoria’s Multicultural Honour Roll recognises people who have migrated to Australia or arrived as refugees in the past ten years and have shown leadership in their communities and fostered understanding between different cultural groups.

Dr Ghayour-Minaie came to Geelong from Iran in 2007 to start her PhD studies at Deakin. Since then she has worked with adolescents and families from all different cultural backgrounds to help them integrate into Australian society, with a particular focus on the Iranian community. Soon after she arrived, Dr Ghayour-Minaie co-founded the Iranian Society in Geelong, and in 2010 she started Geelong’s first ever Persian language radio show. “I was coming into contact with different Iranian people, and realised that there was a big need to help newcomers integrate into society. Everything is different for them and I can understand the difficulties they have in adapting.” she said. “Coming from a Muslim background is sometimes hard because of the things that people see on TV, but that’s not really showing the true people. We just want to show the broader community we are all human beings and we can live together and respect each other. There’s no difference between Muslims and Christians, we are all people and part of one society.”

Through her work at Deakin, Dr Ghayour-Minaie is part of ‘Resilient Families’, a school-based intervention program working with parents, secondary schools and students. “We want to help the three groups come together to promote family involvement in strategies to overcome conflicts, and improve problem solving, positive relationships and educational attainment. This is a one of a kind program in Australia, and we are working to develop it further so it’s effective with different cultural groups, identifying any special needs they have and adding them to the program.”

Dr Ghayour-Minaie said migrant/refugee teenagers typically had a faster rate of integration than their parents, and that included overcoming the language barrier. “Adolescents learn much quicker because of school and social activities, but also because of their age, and that sometimes means parents can feel like they’ve been left behind, and that they don’t know the rules. We want to look at how we can help support these parents’ to integrate their values into this new society, while also adding the new knowledge of Australian culture to their parenting. We’ve found the program has a big effect on reducing drug and alcohol abuse, as well as anti-social behaviour and delinquency. Parents who attend the program also have a higher confidence in their parenting.”

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