Swinburne has become the first university to be recognised by the Victorian Government for making outstanding contributions to Victoria’s multicultural community.
Swinburne received a high commendation in the Business Category at the 2017 Victoria’s Multicultural Awards for Excellence, held at Government House on Thursday November 23.
The ceremony was hosted by the Governor of Victoria, Linda Dessau AC, and was attended by government and community leaders including Deputy Premier Mr James Merlino, Chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) Helen Kapalos and Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Andrew Crisp.
Now in its 16th year, the awards honour individuals and organisations for outstanding initiatives that celebrate and promote cultural diversity within society.
Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau AC hosted the awards ceremony and was among many Victorian dignitaries in attendance on the night.
Swinburne Vice-President of Engagement, Jane Ward, accepted the award on behalf of the university.
“We are tremendously proud to have Swinburne’s commitment and efforts in multicultural engagement highlighted by this award,” says Ms Ward.
“The award recognises Swinburne’s sustained efforts to work with migrant and refugee communities, and create an inclusive, welcoming and engaging environment.”
Swinburne was recognised for having a culturally diverse staff and student body, as well as being the first Australian university to commit to a Charter and Objectives of Cultural Diversity.
The university was also recognised for initiatives such as the introduction of the Welcome Scholarships which allow often vulnerable members of our community to study without paying international student fees.
Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Andrew Crisp with Swinburne Vice-President of Engagement Jane Ward and Director of Multicultural Engagement Chin Tan.
Swinburne’s Director of Multicultural Engagement and former Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) Chairperson and Commissioner, Chin Tan, also attended the ceremony.
Mr Tan believes the recognition is the result of Swinburne’s commitment to diversity.
“This award recognises the cultural diversity initiatives that we have in place,” says Mr Tan.
“As well as our unequivocal commitment to creating a place where cultural diversity is at the heart of our university.”
Mr Tan believes that Swinburne has come very far in its 25 years as a university and is quickly setting an example for other Australian institutions.
“Over the years, Swinburne has become more global and international in its outlook and engagement and is rapidly developing as an institution of inclusiveness,” he explains.
“It places Swinburne on the road to being a role model institution for the cultivation and development of multicultural excellence.”
Mr Tan also received a formal recognition for the invaluable contributions he made during his time as VMC Chairperson and Commissioner.
St Paul’s Lutheran Choir perform at Government House in celebration of cultural diversity within Victoria.
Ms Ward believes the award will act as encouragement for Swinburne to continue to strive to be a leader in cross-cultural understanding.
“While we achieved the significant milestone in 2017 of launching our Charter of Cultural Diversity, there is more to be done,” she says.
“We are greatly encouraged by the award and will continue our journey towards being a leader in multicultural engagement.”