Media Release December 20, 2011_Media Workshops for Youth

Media Release

December 20th, 2011

YOUTH RESILIENCE THROUGH COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS AND YOUTH ACTIVITIES

The Curbing Radicalisation through Youth Resilience and Community Partnerships project is an initiative of the Victorian Arabic Social Services (VASS) funded by the Australian Government, Attorney-General’s Department.  The project focuses on developing and facilitating a series of workshops and activities for Arabic Speaking Background (ASB) youth living in the municipality of Hume, Moreland and Hobson’s Bay.  Participants are recruited from high schools, tertiary institutions, local communities and police members. Workshops and activities are aimed at building resilience by providing avenues for positive expression and mutual understanding of diversity.

As part of the project, VASS invited Monash Researchers from the Global Terrorism Research Centre (GTReC) , Dr Pete Lentini and Dr Anna Halafoff, to present their research findings to members of the Muslim community through weekly workshops. These workshops encouraged an exchange of discussions, experiences and possible solutions to issues between the researchers and the participants of the workshops.  Workshop themes included Multi-faith Understanding, Middle Eastern Culture in Contemporary Australian society (Issues of Identity), Impact of Global Issues on Islamic and Middle Eastern communities living in Australia, Non-violent Techniques in Overcoming Racism and Stigmatisation and How to Get Involved (Media Training).

VASS received positive feedback from workshop participants who felt that they made gains in conflict resolution, insight into people’s problems, well balanced views on Islam from life experience, theoretical knowledge of radicalisation and possible solutions at localised levels.  Participants also felt that the openness and honesty of the discussions made the tools for learning effective.

The next step is to assist participants to create online forums and opportunities to blog online, assist participants in computer programming and website creation with the intent of sharing Islamic values and culturally appropriate forums like Halaltube and Muslim Village. Those interested will also be given the opportunity to maintain their cultural and religious rights through multimedia, animation and storytelling.

Media workshops are due to commence in January 2012.  For expressions of interest please contact Donia Salem at VASS on (03) 93592861 or donia.salem@vass.org.au.