National leaders to focus on unifying Australia

To help nurture national unity and cohesion Western Sydney University will this month host the second National Advancing Community Cohesion Conference – Today’s Challenges and Solutions. 

Australia is one of the most successful multicultural societies in the world, and has a strong commitment to the equal participation of diverse groups. But it also has a history of racism, discrimination and a lack of fair access to opportunities. The Conference – at the University’s Parramatta South campus from 20 to 22 November – will see a broad range of challenges to national unity and social cohesion addressed by hundreds of Australian and international decision-makers, thought leaders, influencers, and practitioners from government, civil society and the private sector.

Topics discussed in relation to community cohesion will include: impact of multicultural policies and programs, settlement experiences, access to labour markets, leadership and media, gender, policing, sport, religion, regional Australia and ageing.  

Convenor of ACCC2017 and Director of Equity and Diversity at Western Sydney University Dr Sev Ozdowski says the three-day Conference will be an opportunity for national leaders to share expertise, experiences and lessons learned.

“The Conference is designed to achieve practical outcomes and inform the participants’ ongoing work in the social cohesion space, as well as contribute to policies and strategies at national, state and local levels,” says Dr Ozdowski.  

“Workshops featuring leading government and community experts will strengthen the practical knowledge and skills of participants, and there will be opportunities to build new networks to facilitate partnerships and collaboration.”

Vice-Chancellor of Western Sydney University Professor Barney Glover, says the conference confirms that the University is a national leader in promoting community cohesion.  

“The University is situated in a region of great diversity, opportunity and growth.  Our student population is drawn largely from Greater Western Sydney, and comprises over 200 cultural and linguistic backgrounds,” says Professor Glover.  

“We are proud to be at the forefront of providing stakeholders with opportunities like the Conference, which will have positive outcomes for diverse communities and societies, including Greater Western Sydney.”  

The Conference follows the ground-breaking 1st National Advancing Community Cohesion Conference – Towards a National Compact, which the University hosted in July 2015.  

Notable speakers for ACCC2017 include:

  • His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Governor of New South Wales
  • Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs
  • Hon Tony Burke MP, Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Australia
  • Senator Richard Di Natale, Leader of the Australian Greens Party
  • Ms Yenny Wahid, Director, The Wahid Institue, Indonesia
  • Professor Ted Cantle CBE, Founder, Interculturalism and Community Cohesion Foundation, United Kingdom
  • Dr Anne Aly MP, Member of the Australian Parliament for Cowan, Australian Labor Party, and Adjunct Professor, Edith Cowen University
  • Ms Tanya Hosch, General Manager, Inclusion and Social Policy, Australian Football League

The second  National Advancing Community Cohesion Conference – Today’s Challenges and Solutions will take place at Western Sydney University’s Parramatta South campus from 20-22 November 2017.


9 November 2017

Emma Sandham, Senior Media Officer