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Australia-Asia expert speaks at Southern Cross University


Brigid Veale
20 April 2005
Author and expert in Australia-Asia relations Professor J.V. D'Cruz will highlight ways Australians can better coexist in a society with multiple cultures at Southern Cross University's second annual Cultural Diversity Talk on Tuesday, April 26.

Professor D'Cruz, a Monash University Adjunct Professor in Australia-Asia Relations, is co-author (with William Steele) of Australia's Ambivalence Towards Asia (2003) – which looks at Australia's difficulties establishing a meaningful relationship with Asia.

Professor D'Cruz, Malaysian-born and Indian by ethnicity, was educated in Malaysia, India and Australia, and has been in Australia since 1955.

Professor D'Cruz said Australia would have a more satisfying multicultural regional identity only after it had found a way to live with ease in its own multi-cultured society.

"Of course, this begins with Indigenous Australians, and includes Asian-Australians, Oceanic Australians and the like," he said.

"I do feel our lack of ability to speak different languages here in Australia reflects a lack of empathy with other cultures.

"But I am positive about Australians becoming better at dealing with and living in a multi-cultured society — that day will come, indeed there's no alternative but to try to improve things."

Professor D'Cruz said coming generations with new mindsets would play a big part in improving Australia's sense of ease with its multi-cultured society.

Professor D'Cruz, with an extensive university teaching career in Australia, has most recently worked at La Trobe University in education and at the National University of Malaysia in cultural linguistics. He has also advised the Victorian Government on education issues including funding of adult basic education and technology in rural schools.

While at SCU's Lismore campus, Professor D'Cruz will also meet with Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Clark, visit Gnibi, the College of Australian Indigenous Peoples, and meet with staff and undergraduate students.

The annual Cultural Diversity Talk at SCU is part of an undergraduate unit called Australia/Asia. Professor D'Cruz will visit the campus through support from the Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Clark.

Professor Cruz's Cultural Diversity Talk entitled "Negotiating Diverse Australia" is open to the public and will be held at the SCU Lismore campus, Whitebrook Theatre, at noon on Tuesday, April 26.