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Harmony Week a colourful celebration across colleges and cultures

By Fiona West | March 25, 2022

Hundreds of students and staff from dozens of diverse backgrounds came together across Navitas Skilled Futures’ colleges this week to celebrate Harmony Week.

Activities included the unveiling of a collaborative artwork, a fashion parade of cultural costumes, sharing favourite traditional foods and recipes and speeches about “what harmony means to me”.

At Liverpool college, student Francis Mawule, originally from Ghana, urged other students to introduce themselves to someone they didn’t know and hear about their background. One class alone was made up of students from Iraq, Burma, Syria, Vietnam, Afghanistan, China and Serbia.

Liverpool College students Francis Mawale, from Ghana, and Shilpi Paul, from India, in front of the collaborative artwork.

“The message of Harmony Day this year is everyone belongs – we agree with this in our class,” Francis said in his speech.

“We think harmony is about working together and respecting each other, no matter who you are or what our differences are, to make a better future.

“In Australia, We love to share things about our culture with our friends and others around us, like our traditional food, language, music, dress, beliefs, values and lifestyle. Harmony Day celebrates all these things and encourages respect, equality and freedom, so our community goes beyond our different cultures and everyone belongs.”

It was the first time in two years that students had been able to come together to celebrate Harmony Day at Liverpool, said Academic Team Leader Maya Kaszynski.

“I feel like at Navitas, and especially at Liverpool, we are one big family,” Maya told more than 80 students at the event from the recently resumed face-to-face classes. “I don’t have any brothers and sisters – but you are all my brothers and sisters.”

Sam’s students at Liverpool explain what Harmony Day in Australia means to them.

Maya unveiled the collaborative artwork, created by joining together individual square images portraying students’ personal perspectives on harmony and a multicultural Australia. Other pieces of Harmony Day art were also displayed around the college walls, including from students at Auburn and Parramatta campuses.

At Navitas Skilled Futures Cabramatta, a smaller group of students came together and wore traditional dress, presented in a fashion parade. Joined by teachers and community members from Fairfield Library, Services NSW and NSW Police, they shared food and stories.

Cabramatta students in traditional dress (L-R): Duyen (Vietnam); Hien (Vietnam); Aziza (Afhghanistan); and Perpetue (Kongo).

Canberra students, who were in an assessment week, are planning a “walk and talk” event followed by a picnic in the park next week. The outdoor event will allow students studying face to face and online to come together for a united celebration.

Navitas Skilled Futures General Manager Jetinder Macfarlane said Harmony Week’s messages of inclusiveness, respect and community were values practised by Navitas not just during Harmony Week, but every week of the year.

“But especially during this week, Navitas Skilled Futures’ students at all our colleges engage in activities that proudly celebrate our diverse cultures, providing an opportunity for everyone to learn from each other and deepen our understanding of each others’ beliefs, customs and histories,” she said.

“After so many months of being cut off from families and friends, as well as our workmates and classmates, Harmony Week is a wonderful opportunity for people to come together in a safe and unified environment to celebrate the valuable contribution each and every one of us can make as individuals and as strong multicultural communities.”

Navitas Skilled Futures also celebrated Harmony Week by winning the prestigious NSW Premier’s Multicultural Community Medal for the second year in a row. The Corporate Business Execellence Medal was presented at the Premier’s Harmony Dinner earlier this month.

Our Stakeholder Engagement Managers also attended a number of local events, including Basim Shamaon, who was interviewed for a short film that was shown at the Western Sydney MRC and Core Community Services Harmony Week dinner.

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