Multicultural festival celebrates belonging

ASHLEIGH JANSEN

With less than a week left of Queensland’s largest celebration of multiculturalism, the month-long event’s message of belonging remains as relevant as ever.

Stirling Hinchliffe at Multicultural Queensland Month

Queensland Multicultural Affairs Minister Stirling Hinchliffe says Multicultural Queensland Month is about promoting social cohesion. Photo: Courtesy Stirling Hinchliffe

 

Multicultural Queensland Month is a Queensland Government led initiative that showcases the state’s diversity in a month-long celebration.

This year’s festivity salutes culture of all types through its theme: “We all belong”.

Queensland Minister for Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs, Stirling Hinchliffe, said the month was about promoting unity, harmony and social cohesion.

“Queensland is a multicultural success story with people from more than 220 countries calling our state home,” Mr Hinchcliffe said.

“The month presents an opportunity to showcase and celebrate our unique diversity and its benefits,” he said

The underlying theme of social inclusion has been highlighted in more than 100 events over the course of the month.

“Every year we try and find something extra to add to the month to reach new audiences and share the message that we all belong in Queensland… [while] recognising the valuable contributions of Queenslanders who support and promote an inclusive, harmonious and united Queensland community,” Mr Hinchcliffe said.

This year an Australian citizenship ceremony was held at the Brisbane Ekka for the first time, where 40 people hailing from more than 20 countries were welcomed as new citizens as part of Multicultural Queensland Month.

Mr Hinchcliffe said in a state where migrants and refugees already made an outstanding contribution, further success could be achieved by embracing this cultural diversity.

“Educating our children to be global citizens has a broad range of benefits including economic, regional growth and building ties in the global economy,” he said.

“Diversity is good for business, good for humankind and good for Queensland.”

Multicultural Queensland Month has been running since 2016, while the event highlight, the Multicultural Queensland Awards, has been running since 1990.

Australian singer/songwriter Ben Lee, who will be performing at the awards ceremony, said the concept of inclusivity and cultural recognition was important to him and to his historical roots.

“My great uncle was a gypsy violinist who grew up on a Russian farm with 19 siblings and found himself in the 20s in Berlin standing on tables at dinner theatres playing wild melodies and rubbing shoulders with Albert Einstein,” Mr Lee said.

“His story, my family’s story, my own story, is entirely a story of movement, wandering, immigration,” he said.

This year’s Multicultural Queensland Awards will be held in Brisbane on Friday August 30.

For more information about Multicultural Queensland Month, visit www.dlgrma.qld.gov.au/multicultural-month.

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