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Red Cross Oration 2012

Red Cross Oration 2012: Diversity in Australia

Dr Helen Durham and Waleed Aly discussed the issues facing an increasingly diverse Australia at the Red Cross Oration 2012.

Is diversity real? How can we understand it? How do we embrace it? These were just a few of the questions put to an audience of more than 300 people at the 6th Annual Red Cross Oration held at the University of Tasmania.

On Monday 3 December, Waleed Aly, ABC broadcaster, author, lawyer, and academic, presented the Red Cross Oration in conversation with Dr Helen Durham, Head of International Law and Principles at Red Cross. Together, they discussed the issues facing an increasingly diverse Australia.

Mr Aly challenged the audience with his own notion of diversity, arguing that it is just a social construct: "Diversity is really just made up, it's not real. We as a human society are as diverse as we tell ourselves we are."

"It becomes diversity when we assign some kind of meaning to it," Mr Aly said. "We are a new world nation, which means we have a choice in how we talk about ourselves," he said.

Held annually, the Red Cross Oration contributes to the advancement of public understanding and interdisciplinary dialogue concerning issues of human significance in the contemporary world. This year's Red Cross Oration was presented in partnership with the University of Tasmania and in association the Migrant Resource Centre (Southern).

You can watch the 2012 Red Cross Oration: Diversity in Australia today on YouTube.

Promoting diversity

Red Cross has recently launched a new mobile app: 'And then I was a refugeeā€¦' The app brings everyday Australians face-to-face with some of the life and death choices refugees are forced to make.

Download at The app is free and is recommended for people aged nine and over.

Photo: Australian Red Cross/Vanessa Cordwell