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Western to co-lead research streams for new social think tank

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Western Sydney University will co-lead two research streams for a new collaborative think tank– the Centre of Excellence for Resilient Communities and Inclusive Societies (CERCIS) – to forge solutions to problems caused by social polarization and racism as well as youth-related issues in the digital age.

Led by Deakin University’s Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI), CERCIS will deliver new thinking and evidence that informs state and national policy on strengthening social cohesion and community safety and reducing racism, intercultural intolerance and violent extremism.

With support from the Victorian Government, CERCIS brings together researchers, industry partners and community leaders from Deakin University, Western Sydney University, Victoria University, Canada’s Dalhousie University, the Australian Multicultural Foundation, Centre for Multicultural Youth, the UK’s Institute for Strategic Dialogue and RAND Australia.

According to Professor Kevin Dunn from the School of Social Sciences and Psychology at Western Sydney University, who will co-lead the research stream into Challenging Racism and Enhancing Social Belonging, the research will address issues that pose substantial threats to social cohesion in Australia and other pluralist democracies. Dr Ana-Maria Bliuc, Associate Professor Nida Denson, and Professor Craig McGarty from Western Sydney University will collaborate on this important research project.

“We are proud to contribute to this important think tank and international research collaboration, building on Western Sydney University’s significant expertise in race and ethnic studies and our recognised capacity for translating theoretical innovation into practical interventions,” said Professor Dunn.

“The research stream is designed to empower communities to build resilience and deploy strategies to challenge racism; provide analysis and commentary on issues of national importance; and inform, educate and train individuals and communities on positive, community-based policy-interventions.”

The second research stream co-led by Western Sydney University, Youth, Diversity and Wellbeing in a Digital Age, will draw upon the expertise of Associate Professor Amanda Third, Associate Professor Philippa Collin and Dr Liam Magee from the Western Sydney University Institute for Culture and Society, who are members of the University’s Young and Resilient Strategic Research Initiative.

Research will focus on developing a technology-based youth consultation platform for social wellbeing, the co-design of strategies to address violence through school and community-based education, and encouraging youth participation in decision-making for policy and practice in the field.

Associate Professor Amanda Third, co-lead of the stream, says that the strength of this research will be its proactive, collaborative and capacity building approach.

“What is most exciting about this program is that it gives us the opportunity to work with diverse young people and a range of key partners in the field to co-design solutions that support youth wellbeing and impact complex social issues,” said Associate Professor Third.

Source: Western Sydney University

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