An honour and a privilege to get the opportunity to address representatives of the Geelong Ethnic Communities Council and Diversitat CEO Michael Martinez this evening – at the new Healthy Living Centre in Norlane.

A 850m2 solar powered community centre, the building is located right next to Diversitat​’s Northern Community Hub and community garden, brand new and with some great potential.

“This cultural precinct is all about creating harmony and social cohesion to realise the full potential of a multicultural society and plays an important role in contributing to and shaping the long term benefits of a vibrant, diverse Greater Geelong region,” Diversitat writes about it on their home page.

Windermere candidate Anthony Aitken gave an engaging speech, going back to his multicultural school days and talking about his work as president of the board of Volunteering Geelong, among other things.

Aitken and Aidt… very different backgrounds and stories, but we share the same values, and not surprisingly we ended up talking a lot about diversity, multicultural Australia and the strength we find when we are able to draw on the various intercultural competences we bring with us.

The question, which is now left for our voters to decide, is: how will the new Council be reflecting the diversity of the community and its different cultural backgrounds?

I mentioned my 16 years as the editor-in-chief of Danish leading multicultural magazine that lead to a job as director of the Danish Centre for Arts and Interculture, driven by my passion for exploring what we can gain from each other’s cultures.

Time was short, so I didn’t even get to talk about the exciting eight years I had on the board of the Danish Center for Culture and Development, which ran a series of legendary festivals, each on over 10 million dollar budgets and including hundreds of artists, called Images of Africa and Images of the World.

Humbled to meet a group of Geelong residents who are so dedicated and committed to the goal of creating an open-minded inclusive city where we meet each other with mutual respect and as equals. Congratulations, Diversitat, with your new Healthy Living Centre. Love that name!

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