NCEIS Conference 2008 - "Challenges to Social Inclusion in Australia: The Muslim Experience"

Melbourne, 19 - 20 November 2008

Hosted by NCEIS, University of Melbourne

The National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies hosted a two-day conference exploring issues of social inclusion and Muslim integration in Australia.

The Muslim experience of living in multicultural Australia has, by far, been one of success. Far from the ghetto experience in the United Kingdom, Australian Muslims have been engaged and integrated in the social life of the country. This process, however, has not been without difficulties, some real and some perceived. It is important to separate fact from fiction and put the Australian experience in its proper context, by looking at the broader issues at work while being mindful of other related experiences overseas.

Bringing together academic scholars, policymakers and community leaders, this two-day conference discussed and explored issues of social inclusion and Muslim integration in Australia. By exploring key areas of Muslim access to education and employment as critical aspects of social integration, the conference brought public policy that is designed to facilitate social inclusion into focus, and also explored the impact of such policies, especially among Muslim youth and women. The convention of academic scholars, policymakers and community leaders was an important step forward not only in addressing conceptual challenges, but in exploring best practices for facilitating and promoting social cohesion and harmony.

Keynote Speakers

The conference was officially opened by Mr Laurie Ferguson MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement.

This year's conference included the following presenters:

  • Prof. Howard Brasted, University of New England
  • Emeritus Prof. Riaz Hassan, Flinders University
  • Mr. Eeqbal Hassim, National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies
  • Ms. Jamila Hussain, University of Technology Sydney
  • Prof. Fethi Mansouri, Deakin University
  • A/Prof. Samina Yasmeen, University of Western Australia
  • Dr. Halim Rane, Griffith University
  • Mr. Matthew Richman, Australia and New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency (ANZPAA)
  • Dr Joel Windle, Monash University

The conference also featured special guest, Ms Liz Beattie MP, Victorian Parliamentary Secretary assisting the Premier on Multicultural Affairs.

Papers

This conference explored key areas of Muslim access to education and employment as critical aspects of social integration. It brought public policy that is designed to facilitate social inclusion and explore the impact of such policies, especially among Muslim youth and women, into focus.

It also bridged the gap for academic scholars, policy makers and community leaders to discuss the question of social inclusion for Muslims in Australia. The convention of the above three groups is an important step not only for the conceptual grasp of the challenge but for exploring best practice.

Submissions ranged over the following key areas of interest:

  • Education
  • Employment
  • Family law
  • Migrants and refugees (settlement issues, including mental health)
  • Youth
  • Women
  • Public representation
  • Community Policing

Steering Committee

Assoc Prof Shahram Akbarzadeh (Convenor)
Deputy Director, National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies Australia
NCEIS Profile
 | University of Melbourne Profile

Prof Abdullah Saeed
Sultan of Oman Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies
Director, National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies Australia
NCEIS Profile | University of Melbourne Profile

Dr Mohamad Abdalla
Director, Islamic Research Unit, Griffith University
NCEIS Profile | Griffith University Profile

Assoc Prof Richard Pennell
al-Tajir Lecturer in Middle Eastern History, University of Melbourne
NCEIS Profile | University of Melbourne Profile

Dr Steven Drakeley
Lecturer, Faculty of Humanities and Languages, University of Western Sydney
NCEIS Profile | University of Western Sydney Profile

Dr B. Hass Dellal OAM
Executive Director, Australian Multicultural Foundation
AMF profile

Conference Sponsors