The Society for Intercultural Education Training and Research

Explore the cultural issues in Australasia and our network to advance our cultural competence.

President’s Welcome

Hello from SIETAR Australasia to all of you.

SIETAR Australasia is finally up and running.  It has been a long journey with one step forward, three back, then another step forward… then another back, then a wobble… then another step forward. Yet, here we are, finally on our way!  We have our website and newsletter – both are fairly rudimentary at this stage – but it is a start.  We welcome any contributions, thoughts, suggestions, ideas from all of you on how we can improve.

In setting up SIETAR Australasia, I had two goals in mind: one short term and the other longer term. Our immediate goal is to organise a conference to highlight intercultural activity in Australasia.  This conference aims to explore multiculturalism, multi-cultural, and multi-involvement in the Australasia region. The concept of multiculturalism – is so necessary in our world right now where the crux of so much misunderstanding arises from lack of deeper appreciation of other cultures and how they are different.  Without this understanding, strange cultures may seem threatening.  Understanding another’s culture has the potential to break down barriers and reveal our commonality, albeit wrapped in different colours, different labels, and different names.

We are holding our inaugural conference in Cairns, Queensland, on 16-18 October 2015, to entice all our overseas participants to escape the Northern Hemisphere’s winter and enjoy sun, surf and sand in the Southern Hemisphere.

Our long term goal for SIETAR Australasia is to offer courses in intercultural studies from primary school right up to university level. Intercultural studies can set the groundwork to break down the existing societal mutual misunderstandings that exist within Australiasia.  These courses, we hope, will chip away at the dominance of a monoculture over the multitudes of cultures below it to enable all cultures to intermingle, interact and blend into one another in a truly multicultural sense of the word.  There is a niche for intercultural courses in Australasia as there is a need to work at achieving multiculturalism in Australia.  And there is much that Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, and the islands of Australasia can learn from and teach each other.  We are working out the practical details of how to advance this goal right now.

Again, a welcome from all of us at SIETAR Australasia, and thank you for your support.

Congratulations on the recent Sietar Australasia Conference – ‘International Conference on the Celebration of Indigenous Knowledge’ held at the Canberra University, October 1st-2nd about which I have heard positive reports.

Professor Sev Ozdowski AM OAM FRSN
Conference Convenor
Director Equity and Diversity

It was a simply wonderful experience.

Congratulations on starting something absolutely wonderful.

Jane Lewis​
CTC Facilitation
Straight Talking for Results

Your success is epitomised by the quality of the speakers you attracted to the ‘International Conference on the Celebration of Indigenous Knowledge – contribution of their influence across disciplines’.

It was an honour to be counted among such luminaries of tertiary education in one gathering. Next year this will be one of the sought-after platforms for First People and their achievements. Great work!

Shane Mortimer
Namadji Allodial Elder
Allodiary of the ACT

Thank you so much for organising this conference!

As a proud Tharawal woman it was truly an incredible experience to attend this conference on celebrating Indigenous knowledge. I have never been to a conference such as this one; that discussed the positive attributes of Indigenous culture and recognised its efficacy in the 21st Century.

There were a wide range of speakers with a range of experiences and expertise, and it was amazing to see the different effects Indigenous knowledge can have on an individual and the ripple effects that it can cause.

Bobbie-Joe Ewald

Thank you for believing in your ideas and great effort to materialise this conference. I deeply enjoyed the two days.

Great energy reigned the room where stories, knowledge, experiences, hopes and ideas intersected. It was a full immersion in the varied culture of our Indigenous and Aboriginal people. I was touched by the humble nature of many of the speakers and the presence of so much talent amongst our Indigenous communities.

Indigenous and Aboriginal people vary in their languages and specific practices, but they are One. A few aspects of their culture unite them: the arts, the fire-burning and the most important Respect – Respect for their Country, Nature, and their People. This is ultimately the lesson we must all learn and put into practice for a better and harmonious world.

Thank you for the important teachings I received and the beautiful people I met.

Roberta Ruffolo
Department of Defence

Thank you for all of your hard work and effort organising the ‘International Conference on the Celebration of Indigenous Knowledge – contribution of their influence across disciplines’.

The conference was fantastic and unlike any other I have attended. The speakers were outstanding, insightful and thought-provoking, and covered a diverse range of topics.

I will discuss the conference at CSIRO’s next Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Forum meeting and am very much looking forward to attending next year.

Thank you again for such a valuable two days.

Matthew Ford


It was a wonderful event. I am very grateful to you for putting it together and I am so very happy that I came. I learnt so much and met such lovely people.

I was deeply touched by the experience of being with Uncle Max, I spend a lot of time south of Wollongong where we purchased some land – so it was very special, and I feel quite changed.

I would certainly come again to another conference.

Sophie Jane Bouris

I have participated and contributed to conferences in many countries over the last decade. But I have never heard about a conference in sharing indigenous knowledge.

This is a busy time of year for me, so hard to make an overseas trip, but I did not want to miss this great opportunity and new experience.

I wish the “sharing indigenous knowledge” concept would become widespread.

Dr. Samanthi Konarasinghe
Institute of Mathematics & Management (Pvt) Ltd
Sri Lanka

The ‘International Conference on the Celebration of Indigenous Knowledge – contribution of their influence across disciplines’ was an interesting event.

I enjoyed every one of the presentations and the wide-view lens we were given. I must say that some talks moved me emotionally, especially the heartfelt presentation of Shane Mortimer. Others that were memorable to me included Uncle Bill’s talk on Indigenous cultures, and Mark Love’s speech about the legal advancements in Indigenous recognition. And I loved, loved, loved the workshops sessions.

This conference also gave us time to interact with each other and the presenters which is invaluable for conference attendees.

The presenters showed us that whichever ‘side’ we are of the Australian culture, it does not matter if we all work hard to ensuring our actions accept the truth, enable equality and show acceptance of differences.

Kudos for organising such an informative and fun conference.

Caroline Gibbins