Education has often acted as a social microcosm that reflects the growing levels of religious and cultural diversity in Australia, with educators facing the daily task of responding pedagogically and interculturally to the challenges this evolving context brings. This paper engages critically with intercultural initiatives and policies and their role in fostering inclusivity and cross-cultural understanding in education practice across Australia. It explores the discourses, policies, and curricula developments that attempt to address growing levels of diversity both within and beyond educational settings. The paper argues that policy statements and educational policies alone are not sufficient to ensure broader uptake of an intercultural pedagogic ethos. Rather, such initiatives need to be augmented by broader institutional leadership, adequate resourcing, and context-sensitive enabling strategies. This argument is corroborated by current evidence indicating that principled approaches to introducing intercultural perspectives in education require certain conditions before they can disrupt long-standing racist attitudes and exclusionary discourse. The implementation of systematic and transformative intercultural approaches in schools can create more inclusive pedagogic practices and respectful intercultural relations that transcend the boundaries of the schoolyard and extend into broader society. Targeted, long-term intercultural understanding trainings can also engender more constructive discourse within and beyond schools.

Elias, A., & Mansouri, F. (2023). ‘Towards a critical transformative approach to inclusive intercultural education’. Journal of Multicultural Discourses, 18(1): 4-21.