Harmony Day was a chance for the AVI team in Melbourne to come together for a 'Taste of Harmony' afternoon tea and remember the tragic loss of life in Christchurch.
An initiative of Melbourne’s Scanlon Foundation, Taste of Harmony celebrates our multicultural backgrounds through sharing food from our family backgrounds.
We had wonderful cuisine from eight countries - India, Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, China and Latvia, with stories of the cultures these treats came from.
We also emphasised the importance of social capital as the glue that enables social cohesion – the relationships, purpose and belonging that gains our lives meaning.
Bonding capital is the most common, where we mix with people similar to ourselves, where we feel comfortable. However, bridging capital, where we mix with people not like us is better, as it leads to us learning of other cultures, resulting in understanding of others' perspectives and tolerance.
I am proud that AVI has enabled this bridging capital for 68 years through facilitating over 15,000 Australians to live and work locally in 89 new cultures, and then influence their own networks back home.
With Taste of Harmony as an example, I challenge all of us to find ways to get out and seek new experiences in different cultures.