17 March 2005

The founder and President of the Arab and Australian Women's Friendship Association, Mrs Nadia Masarweh, will speak on women in the Arab world at The University of Queensland’s Diversity Week celebrations in May.

Mrs Masarweh and her husband, His Excellency Samir Masarweh, the Ambassador of the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, will attend the third annual Diversity Week lunch at Customs House in Brisbane.

Diversity Week was introduced in 2003 to promote diversity within the UQ community and to encourage more improvements to work and study environments.

This year’s Diversity Week runs from May 9 to 13 under the theme Difference-in-Common.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Equity and Diversity Awards, will be presented at the Diversity Week lunch on Friday, May 13, at Customs House by UQ’s Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield.

Professor Greenfield will present a $5000 individual award and a $10,000 organisational award to people who have improved equity and diversity at UQ.

Students and staff are encouraged to apply for Diversity Week awards and grants of up to $1000 to hold activities that enrich diversity at UQ.

Event applications must be lodged with UQ’s Equity Office Director Ann Stewart by Friday, April 1, email: equity@uq.edu.au.

UQ’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Rix, responsible for equity matters, said diversity was one of the University`s great strengths.

“The student and staff populations of UQ are highly diverse. Different cultures, races, religions, world views, languages and points of view contribute to the richness of work and life at UQ, and benefit us all,” Professor Rix said.

“Diversity represents what universities are about – understanding ideas and interpretations of the world around us, both cultural and natural.

“The awards acknowledge the great work already going on to enhance diversity, and help provide support for the individuals and organisational units that contribute to diversity at UQ.”

Jazz great James Morrison and a six piece band featuring vocalist Emma Pask will play at the UQ Centre in conjunction with Diversity Week on May 9.

The two-hour, evening concert has been organised by UQ’s Chaplaincy under its Aussie International Friendship Program to promote international and domestic student interaction.

The Chaplaincy and UQ Union will host an inter-faith forum titled Drawing On Our Own Wells in the Innes Room at the Union complex, St Lucia on Tuesday, May 10.

Chaplaincy Brother Lionel Peiris said the seminar was about how people of different faiths understood and
creatively and critically engaged with the secular culture of Australia.

UQ Religion lecturer Dr Tamara Ditrich will moderate the forum which runs from 9.30am until 2pm, with a light lunch provided by the Union.

Speakers include UQ PhD student Shirin Jamarani who will talk about her study of Iranian communities in Australia and UQ Union President Leah Sanderson.

Achana Singh from UQ’s School of Languages will talk on the Hindu perspective, social worker Rashida Joseph will talk about Islamic communities and community worker Nirupa Wickrema on Buddhism.

Christian and Jewish perspectives will also be covered.

Also on May 10, UQ Ipswich will host a public lecture on Whitewashing Australia: Combating Racism in the 21st Century, by UQ Contemporary Studies Adjunct Professor David Hollinsworth.

Dr Hollinsworth, a lecturer, author and Indigenous Australian health advocate, will speak from noon in Building 12, room 109.

He said he would explore changes in Indigenous Australian policy such as the abolition of ATSIC and the mainstreaming of Indigenous affairs which he described as a new form of assimilation.

He will talk about how border protection and terrorism fuel national anxiety and what he sees as the Federal Government’s retraction from multiculturalism and diversity.

UQ’s sexuality support network, the Ally Network, will be launched on Thursday, May 12 in the Social Science and Humanities Library Conference Room, St Lucia.

Allies provide ‘safe zones` for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and staff and can provide information about support services such as emergency housing and health services.

Professor Greenfield will officially launch the network and Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Susan Booth will attend.

Visit www.uq.edu.au/diversity-week for more information about Diversity Week and grant applications or contact the Equity Office on 07 3365 3052.

Media: contact Professor Rix (phone: 07 3381 1002, email: a.rix@uq.edu.au) or Miguel Holland at UQ Communications on (phone: 3365 2619, email: m.holland@uq.edu.au)