Australia/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.5 Cross-border intercultural dialogue and co-operation

Intercultural dialogue tends to be seen in Australia as a component of multiculturalism (see section 4.2.7 below).  A range of organisations promote intercultural dialogue in Australia, with most focusing upon intra-Australia initiatives.  The primary international player is the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), an executive agency in the Department of Foreign Affairs and trade, which focus on transnational intercultural programs, such as the  program Building Relations through Intercultural Dialogue and Growing Engagement (BRIDGE) which funds visits by Indonesian teachers to Australian schools and supports an online collaborative curriculum strategy between Australian and Indonesian schools. This program was initiated by the Australia-Indonesia Institute at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and implemented by the Asia Education Foundation, with support from the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. Around 80,000 students in Australia and Indonesia have already benefited through this program and these partnerships have fostered a better understanding about the ways of life in the two countries.  The range of inter-country organisations that operate within the overall umbrella of DFAT also promote intercultural dialogue between the relevant countries from time to time.    For further information on AusAID see http://www.ausaid.gov.au/countries/eastasia/indonesia/Pages/education-init2.aspx.  For intercountry organisations and their programs, see http://www.dfat.gov.au/councils/

Other organisations are more focused on intercultural programs in Australia, such as the Australian Intercultural Society which describes itself as having ‘…since its inception in 2000, … [worked] tirelessly to engender community harmony and inclusion by means of overcoming the discrimination and ignorance that exists between communities, becoming a catalyst for a social change’.  http://www.intercultural.org.au/

Among the major churches there are several programs supporting intercultural faith dialogue, such as the Uniting Church’s Affinity Intercultural Foundation, which has recently established Islamic Sciences and Research Academy of Australia to provide information and research services to social and educational institutions in Australia.

In terms of international interfaith dialogue the Tony Blair Faith Foundation is also active in Australia.


Chapter published: 26-12-2013


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