About research conducted by the UNESCO Chair

The UNESCO Chair and his team generate significant new research on cultural diversity and social justice, promote intercultural dialogue, develop new opportunities for higher education and training, and in collaboration with partners, ensure that building capacity and knowledge translation are at the core of everything that the Chair does.

Cognisant of the importance of ‘sustainable human development’, and of opportunities to engage with the Global South, the Chair’s research agenda significantly contributes to capacity building in the key areas of democratic governance, intercultural education, youth leadership training and the management of cultural diversity in Australia and across Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The UNESCO Chair leads successful projects on democratization, civil society and youth empowerment in post-Arab spring Tunisia, and has ongoing partnerships with key organisations in the Global South. By nurturing meaningful relationships with collaborators, funding partners, policy-makers, and communities, the UNESCO Chair team conducts and disseminates research which makes a tangible difference to the lived experiences of individuals and their communities.

Research training, mentoring and capacity building are core to its mission and inherently embedded in all activities and programs. Since its establishment in August 2013, the UNESCO Chair team has trained and mentored more than 20 doctoral researchers, created numerous fellowships, scholarships, and internships for emerging scholars, and convened numerous workshops, seminars and lectures.

Selected recent projects and grants hosted by the UNESCO Chair

A Transcultural Approach to Belonging and Engagement Among Migrant Youth

Australian Research Council – Discovery Project 

Professor Fethi Mansouri; Professor Lori Beaman; Dr Serena Hussain

This project aims to map experiences of migrant youth in developing and accessing trans-cultural capital, a set of skills, resources and knowledge accessed through multiple cultural repertoires. This will be undertaken through a comparative study of three highly diverse urban contexts: Melbourne, Birmingham and Toronto. The project will examine how trans-cultural capital can affect young people’s ability to instigate, negotiate and maintain socio-cultural connections locally, trans-locally, and trans-nationally. The project’s expected outcomes will contribute to scholarly and policy discussions on migrant youth in the West and improve understanding of their overall social well-being.

Follow research updates on the project website.

Democracy Education in Tunisia – Building Capacity among Youth Leaders

Partnership with the Council for Arab-Australian Relations (CAAR)

Professor Fethi Mansouri, Dr Amanuel Elias, Dr Zouhir Gabsi

In 2017, the UNESCO Chair, Cultural Diversity and Social Justice will partner with the Council of Arab-Australian Relations (CAAR) to host a series of events which will use Australian experience as well as lessons from Indonesia’s path to democracy to support Tunisia’s efforts towards stable democracy.

The project will involve youth leaders from Tunisia who are seen as potential change-makers in the area of civic and democracy education. The select group of youth will be recruited through the project’s partner organization in Tunisia, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) who are involved in significant work around democracy education among youth in Tunisia and across the region.

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Democracy and Local Governance in Tunisia: Australian and Indonesian Perspectives
Partnership with the Council for Arab-Australian Relations (CAAR)

In 2016, the UNESCO Chair, Cultural Diversity and Social Justice partnered with the Council of Arab-Australian Relations (CAAR) to host a series of events which will use Australian experience as well as lessons from Indonesia’s path to democracy to support Tunisia’s efforts towards stable democracy.

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An Arab Exception? The Role of Civil Society in Tunisia's Democratic Transition
Partnership with the Council for Arab-Australian Relations (CAAR)

In 2015, the UNESCO Chair, Cultural Diversity and Social Justice partnered with the Council of Arab-Australian Relations (CAAR) to host a series of events exploring the role of civil society organisations in Tunisia’s transition to democracy.

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Islamic Religiosity and the Challenge of Political Engagement and National Belonging in Multicultural Cities

Partnership with the Australian Research Council and City University of New York

Between 2013 and 2016, the UNESCO Chair, Cultural Diversity and Social Justice and partners undertook research to understand the role that Islamic religious beliefs, rituals and faith-based community practices play in shaping experiences of belonging and citizenship in multicultural, western cities. In particular, the project aims to develop an understanding of the extent to which the emotional and spiritual aspects of Islamic religious practices encourage feelings of openness toward others and foster forms of civic and political engagement in multicultural cities.

Research findings and the report can be found on the Islamic Religiosity project website. 

Intercultural Understanding in Primary and Secondary Schools

Partnership with Together for Humanity, Victorian DEECD, Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, Pukunui Technology 

Between 2013 and 2016, the UNESCO Chair, Cultural Diversity and Social Justice and parterns undertook a large-scale research project developed to build an appreciation of Australia’s social, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity, and the ability to relate to and communicate across cultures. The ICU Project works with schools and systems to help them build ICU.

More Information on the Intercultural Understanding project

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Social Networks, Belonging and Active Citizenship Among Migrant Youth in Australia

Partnership with the Australian Research Council and the Centre for Multicultural Youth and the Australian Red Cross

Between 2009 and 2013, the UNESCO Chair, Cultural Diversity and Social Justice and partners investigated the extent to which young people use formal networks (such as government agencies and public institutions as well as community-specific and NGO support services) and informal networks (including family and subcultural networks) to develop a sense of social connectedness and belonging in a multicultural social environment.

 Research findings and the report can be found on the Migrant Youth AUS project website. 

Teaching Diversity
Partnership with the Australian Research Council, Victorian Arabic and Social Services, and the Scanlon Foundation

Diversity: An Educational Advantage online teacher support is a resource developed by the UNESCO Chair, Cultural Diversity and Social Justice and partners in 2009 as a resource for teachers and the community.The book consists of a Model of Best Practice, Teaching and Learning Resources and Community-School Engagement Models. In particular, the teaching modules aim to broaden student awareness of cultural diversity and develop a more informed understanding of Australia as a culturally diverse nation.

Visit the website