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Advisors focus on Ballarat as Australia’s first Intercultural City

Advisors focus on Ballarat as Australia’s first Intercultural City
July 29, 2019

International intercultural advisors, Irena Guidikova and Lynda Ford, will visit Ballarat tomorrow to highlight Ballarat’s global role as the first Intercultural City of Australia.

Guidikova is Head of Division, Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination Programs at the Council of Europe based in Strasbourg Cedex, France and Ford is an intercultural cities advisor with the Council of Europe, the Director of Igen Foundation Ltd and the Convenor of DiverCities Network of Australasia.

The visit is part of the 2019 Australasian Intercultural Cities Summit with a public Intercultural Conversations event to be held at Ballarat Town Hall on Tuesday 30th July, from 1-2.30pm, to discuss intercultural practice.

Before speaking at the Intercultural Cities Australia Symposium in Melbourne on Wednesday 31st July, Guidikova and Ford, will tour Sovereign Hill to explore interculturalism on the goldfields; visit the Ballarat Wildlife Park; and will participate in an Intercultural City Tour.

The intercultural event, spanning three days across Ballarat and Melbourne, is a collaboration of Victoria’s three Intercultural Cities – Ballarat, Melton and Maribyrnong.

City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh notes the special visit highlights Ballarat’s global role in being recognised as the first Intercultural City of Australia: “The City of Ballarat is proud to be Australia’s first Intercultural City and leading the way in embracing a city where diversity is deemed to be norm.

“Migrant attraction and retention in Ballarat have been enhanced through intercultural dialogue, exchange and learning. This has spurred understanding, creativity, innovation and growth for the benefit of the whole community.”

Promoting social inclusion and wellbeing among Ballarat’s growing migrant community is a key feature of the City of Ballarat’s Intercultural City Strategic Plan 2018-2021.

Some of the key City of Ballarat actions to come out of the plan include:

  • the recent launch of our third Reconciliation Action Plan 2019-2021
  • delivering our City Intercultural Ambassador Program 2018-2021 and our Intercultural Employment Pathways Program 2018-2021
  • the annual Harmony Festival
  • Sister City relationship with Inagawa, Japan, Friendship City relationships with Ainaro Timor-Leste, Yangzhou and Nanjing China
  • membership to the Intercultural Cities Network – Council of Europe since 2017
  • Ballarat has also been a Refugee Welcome Zone since October 2013.

The City of Ballarat’s programs were acknowledged by the Australian Human Rights Commission in December 2018, as a finalist to its Government Award.

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