TOP EVENT: Jade Pengelly, Owen Nevin, Diyar Salahnddin Hafedh and Mitchell Jiles-Duffy were some of the panelists at the Welcoming Intercultural Neighbours’ Cultural Diversity Youth Forum at the CQUniversity on Tuesday.
TOP EVENT: Jade Pengelly, Owen Nevin, Diyar Salahnddin Hafedh and Mitchell Jiles-Duffy were some of the panelists at the Welcoming Intercultural Neighbours’ Cultural Diversity Youth Forum at the CQUniversity on Tuesday.

Youth forum delivers message of acceptance

CULTURAL diversity and acceptance in Gladstone's future is determined by the actions of youth today.

That was the message Gladstone region school students and business owners heard on Tuesday at the Welcoming Intercultural Neighbours Cultural Diversity Youth Forum.

Students gathered with panellists consisting of the university vice chancellor, a young woman who grew up in Dubai and an indigenous local Gladstone resident.

In what was a very open communication forum, youth shared their experiences within cultural acceptance, including witnessing prejudice and bullying comments towards people from another country.

WIN project officer Marie Daix said the forum was a place where youth could speak freely about their beliefs around cultural acceptance in Gladstone.

"We've learnt a lot today and students have been very positive and interested," she said.

"It's all about creating a better understanding for them."

The French born woman believed Australia was already accepting of a range of cultures and traditions.

"Australian people are really open and interested in people from other countries ... it's easy to be a foreigner here," Ms Daix said.

Associate Vice-Chancellor of CQUniversity Gladstone Owen Nevin said it was great to see the young people involved in an in-depth conversation about cultures and traditions.

"I think it's important to give people a safe space to come and talk about what are sometimes challenging issues," Mr Nevin said.

A statistic shared at the forum was that 40% of families within the Gladstone region have one parent who was born overseas.

Mr Nevin said diversity brought a lot to a community.

"When people come in from outside Australia they bring the best of their experience from elsewhere and we can all learn from those things which build a stronger more resilient future," he said.

Milton Redshaw, 17, spoke of an event where a child had made a comment towards someone who was from another country in a supermarket.

Although he believed it was inappropriate, he said the parent gave no punishment.

"It's helped shape my opinions of events and actions of others," he said in relation to the forum.



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