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May 21st marks the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. As the changing tides of global development draw us closer together, humanity’s capacity for intercultural dialogue becomes more increasingly pertinent.

For those who doubt the importance of culture in the 21st century, consider the UN’s claim that three-quarters of all conflict in the world has a cultural dimension. Peace and progress depend heavily on our ability to embrace this diversity with understanding, tolerance and compassion.

Cultural Infusion works to inculcate these attitudes in people by fostering familiarity with what is considered the “other”, and by empowering diverse cultural heritages through appropriate representation. Examples of this kind of work include our National Schools Program, which exposes young children to diverse cultural traditions; and our Living Culture Program (pictured in the banner image above), which preserves cultural heritage in disadvantaged communities.

In honour of May 21st, this newsletter will focus on our newest projects, recent global engagements, and the launch of the Australian tour of Master Dalang Puppeter Sumardi. Today we celebrate a notion echoed by Cultural Infusion's winning slogan for the United Nations' 2013 Do One Thing For Diversity campaign:


   

International engagements

   
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Above: Peter with fellow laureates of the North-South Prize at the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue.

Our founder-CEO Peter Mousaferiadis has been incredibly busy over the past two months with multiple international engagements. Cultural Infusion and its diversity-mapping knowledge tool Ancestry Atlas received much interest and attention and helped put Australia on the map in the global dialogue surrounding intercultural action.


Highlights included the finalisation of an official global partnership between Cultural Infusion and the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute - see further below.

   

5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue

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Peter with Xanana Gusmão

Peter was invited to Baku, Azerbaijan to present at the 5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, where the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe organised a roundtable on “Interculturality and universality of human rights, democracy and the rule of Law”. Fellow participants included Xanana Gusmão, who fought for East Timor's independence and became the newly liberated nation's very first president.

   

Dialogue of Civilizations

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Peter with Dialogue of Civilizations CEO Jean-Christophe Bas

The Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (DOC), an international think-tank,  last month invited Peter to Berlin to present an interactive Ancestry Atlas workshop, "Making Cultural Diversity Work". Presented to an international audience, this highly successful workshop led to talks of an official global partnership between Cultural Infusion and the DOC; a formal announcement of the partnership is expected in the coming months.

   

WISE Twitter discussion

The World Innovation Summit for Education yesterday held an official Twitter chat, where Peter was invited to join other cultural experts in discussing the preservation of local tradition in a globalised world. The full discussion can be viewed on WISE's official twitter profile, below:

   

Sumardi's 2019 Australian tour

   

Cultural Infusion is honoured to present, for tenth year running, the national Australian tour of Dalang (Master) Shadow Puppeteer Sumardi.

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Indonesian puppet theatre (Wayang) is an ancient cultural heritage recognised by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. However, there remain very few Dalang in existence – so it is a rare pleasure for us to welcome Pak Sumardi, who will be spending the next 4 months travelling Australia and introducing this artform to people throughout the country.
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Sumardi controls the voices and movements of more than twenty different puppet characters and plays the accompanying Gamelan percussion with his feet – all at the same time!

Originally from Sragen in Central Java, Sumardi was just eleven years old when he began his nine years of study to become a Dalang or Master Puppeteer. Sumardi has decades of experience performing throughout Indonesia and Australia, and brings with him his own fascinating personal history. His grandmother was one of the most prolific female Dalang in Indonesia, and handed down to him her own puppets that she would use in her shows. Some of these puppets are between 100 & 150 years old! 


Sumardi's programs range from performance- to workshop-based, and are suitable for school incursions, cultural festivals, and corporate events. See an example of them in action here.

   
     

TOUR DATES:

 NSW & ACT
 23/07 - 2/08
19/08 - 23/08

 VIC 6/05 - 17/05
24/06 - 5/07
27/08 - 13/09
 SA20/05- 24/05
10/06 - 21/06
 WA27/05 - 7/06
 QLD  5/08 - 16/08
     

Interested in booking a performance to witness this vivid cultural practice in action, or want to exercise you & your audience's creativity in a puppet-making workshop?

...or call or email our friendly team today:

   
   

Learning Lands - COMING SOON

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Schools and the education system play a vital role in bridging different cultures, by equipping children during their formative years with the skills necessary to become cross-culturally adept. This is why we are extremely excited to announce the upcoming release of Learning Lands, an innovative multimedia resource hub for teachers and educators.

Learning Lands is designed to provide deep learning not just through Australian curriculum-aligned resources, but also through facilitating empathy of differences, deep cross-cultural understanding, creative expression, and critical scientific analysis in students.  Included in this comprehensive offering are subscriptions to Ancestry Atlas, Sound Infusion and the Joko's World suite, as well as a newly developed array of teaching tools facilitating classroom and project based learning.

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Also included is access to Mungo Explorer, a cross-disciplinary resource package that integrates historical inquiry, scientific research and indigenous perspectives. Mungo Explorer is based on the life work of Professor Jim Bowler, the scientist who first discovered the 42,000 year old remains of Mungo Lady and Mungo Man which redefined Aboriginal history and Australia's national story.
Early expressions of interest – and early bird offers that will be available – can be lodged by simply replying to this email or submitting an enquiry online.
   
   
   

Living Culture in Muslim communities abroad

   

Living Culture in Zanzibar

By empowering cultural practices in disadvantaged communities, our Living Culture Program is a demonstration of the impact of culture on development. The program aligns with the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which ensures that traditional custodians are responsible for the transmission of their heritage.

The program is currently running in Lahore, Pakistan and Zanzibar, Tanzania; both Muslim communities with incredibly rich cultural heritage. (For information on how it works, see our website here)

On behalf of Cultural Infusion, we would like to wish our Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world a very happy and holy month of Ramadan.

If you are looking to make a donation for Zakat al-Fitr to a charity that supports the development of Islamic culture -- or even if you are a non-Muslim simply wishing to help out -- please consider donating to our Living Culture Program! All proceeds go directly to the provision of instruments, classroom spaces, and the training and support of culture bearers.

   
   
   
     
   

Interested in keeping up to date, or knowing more about our many cultural initiatives? Like us on Facebook for all the latest news and special offers:

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Cultural Infusion is proud partners with the Victorian Department of Education and Training, and a winner of the UNAOC & BMW Group's Intercultural Innovation Award.

   
   
 
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Cultural Infusion | PO Box 218 | Abbotsford VIC 3067