About the webinar

The need to develop skills and training for our students to become not only culturally sensitive but to be culturally intelligent (Earley & Ang 2003) as social and emotional skills have been identified as a critical factor in preparing students not only in Queensland but across Australia. In the report ‘Peak Human Potential: Preparing Australia’s workforce for the digital future’, employees articulated that the most important skills for the future of work will involve emotional intelligence with a decrease focus on functional or even digital intelligence. These social competencies will become increasingly more important as AI and automation will slowly shift the future skills work environment.

There are several ways in which education providers can support students in developing these soft skills and an increased ability to cross-cultural boundaries and thus to provide them with a greater capacity for creativity, adaptability, compassion, and innovation – all of which accrue from greater cultural intelligence. In the Australian Strategy for International Education (ASIE, 2021-2030, p. 10), “fostering a diverse and sustainable sector, grounded in strong community support and intercultural understanding and acceptance” is identified as a key capacity-building priority for students in Australia. The end goal is not tolerance, but for our students to become culturally intelligent. In an ever-increasing globalised workforce, the benefits are not only for students, but also for their future employers who, quoting the ASIE 2030 vision, “seek graduates with strong intercultural capabilities”. Currently in Australia, there is no accreditation body for providing Cultural and Linguistic services to education providers which has left different institutions across Australia adopting their own approach to cultural competency training. In line with this year’s Multicultural Queensland Month, the role of cultural competency and language will be investigated in the ways in which language and culture intersect. Professor Greg Hainge, Head of the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Queensland notes:

Language and culture go to the heart of what it is to be a human being. It’s of relevance to all of us, no matter what our area of interest. Indeed, in a world where relations between people at all levels of interaction remain fraught, where people are marginalised through the loss of languages, and as technologies offer means of communication that can enable new connections yet simultaneously potentially exhaust us, it is clear we have some way to go to better understand others and ourselves. The study of languages and cultures is an important piece of that puzzle.

With the proportion of Australian born overseas (first generation) or have a parent born overseas (second generation) has moved above 50 per cent (51.5 per cent) in the recent ABS census data (2021) for the first time, education providers must continue to understand and respond to the linguistic and language needs of the communities in which it serves. With the University of Queensland being the main language provider in the higher education space, it is important for us to understand why we have decreased enrolments in languages in secondary education, while language use in Mandarin, Arabic, Vietnamese, and Punjabi are on the rise.

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About the speaker

Portrait of Dr Seb Dianati. He is wearing a khaki coloured blazer and white blouse.Dr Seb Dianati | School of Languages and Cultures

Dr Seb Dianati is a Senior Teaching Fellow in Digital Curriculum Design and is the Director of the Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (CaLD) in the School of Languages and Cultures, where he leads various student and staff facing CAlD project initiatives across UQ. Seb's teaching, research and scholastic interests stem from the intersection of technology with inclusion, and how various technologies can help to promote belonging online and in the classroom. His research areas of interest include second language studies, translation and interpreting.


This webinar is a part of Multicultural Queensland Month - Queensland's largest multicultural celebration (held in August this year). 

As Queenslanders, we speak an incredible number of languages and dialects, and practice a broad range of faiths.

This year, we will explore the many ways in which language is fundamental to building a truly inclusive Queensland through the theme 'Inclusion in action'. We acknowledge the incredible skills of multilingual Queenslanders, explore practical ways to break down language barriers and consider the role we all play by choosing to use language that connects rather than divides us.

Multicultural Queensland Month is an opportunity for all of us to join together to celebrate our diversity and consider how we can put inclusion into action.


Online via Zoom