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Cultural Competence

& the Higher Education Sector:

Dilemmas, Policies & Practice

4 to 5 April 2018 




The National Centre for Cultural Competence acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. It is upon their ancestral lands that the University of Sydney is built. As we share our own knowledge, teaching, learning and research practices within this University may we also pay respect to the knowledge embedded forever within the Aboriginal Custodianship of Country.


Conference Highlights

The National Centre for Cultural Competence (NCCC) would like extend our gratitude and thanks to all keynote speakers, presenters, delegates, guests, our partner, Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), and Elders and members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities in supporting Cultural Competence and the Higher Education Sector: Dilemmas, Policies and Practice Conference this year. 

Below is a video the highlights of an insightful two day Conference. Keynotes are also available to watch on in the Keynotes section below.

Alternatively, you can watch the full NCCC Conference 2018 playlist on our YouTube channel.

Post-Conference Feedback

We would like to thank all delegates, guests, keynote speakers, and all Elders and members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities who attended the Conference.

We welcome your feedback and appreciate your thoughts and comments on your participation in the conference. You can do this by completing an anonymous survey available at the link below.

Submit your feedback

Welcome from the Acting Deputy Vice-ChancelLor (Indigenous Strategy and Services), Professor Juanita

 Image: Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy and Services, Professor Juanita Sherwood 

Image: Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy and Services, Professor Juanita Sherwood 

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the University of Sydney’s National Centre for Cultural Competence (NCCC) conference, Cultural Competence and the Higher Education Sector: Dilemmas, Policies and Practice.

The Review of Australian Higher Education (Bradley, 2008) and the Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People (Behrendt, 2012) identified the need for tertiary institutions to incorporate Indigenous Knowledges into curriculum to improve educational outcomes for Indigenous Australians and to increase the cultural competency of all students. The overarching theme of this conference, therefore, is cultural competence and its intersection with the higher education sector from multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary and Indigenous Knowledges perspectives.

Through keynotes, paper presentations, yarning circles and posters the conference aims to facilitate networking, share information and create a national dialogue. The conference provides an opportunity to explore different and innovative approaches and strategies that incorporate Indigenous knowledges and practices into the development and implementation of cultural competency in the higher education sector.

I hope that you will find the conference interesting and thought provoking and that it will provide you with a valuable opportunity to share ideas, research, and perspectives with others experienced in the areas of diversity, social justice, equity and inclusion.





The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) is a proud partner of the National Centre for Cultural Competence’s 2018 conference on Cultural Competence and the Higher Education Sector: dilemmas, policies and practice through our work to establish a Leaders in Indigenous Nursing and Midwifery Education Network (LINMEN).

 Image: Shells - NCCC, 2016

Image: Shells - NCCC, 2016

The NCCC builds knowledge and capacity in cultural competence through engagement and partnerships with universities, communities, industry groups and government

Visit us at sydney.edu.au/nccc/


Keynote Speakers

Cultural Competence and the Higher Education Sector: Dilemmas, Policies and Practice brought together specialists and individuals interested in cultural competence, diversity and inclusion and Indigenous Knowledges to discuss ideas relating to the future of higher education and the role of Universities in preparing students, faculties and staff for the challenges of building a more culturally competent world. 


Tawara Goode

Tawara Goode is the Director of the National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Tawara is a distinguished thought leader in the area of cultural and linguistic competence and has built the Georgetown National Center for Cultural Competence into an internationally recognised and award-winning program. She had a primary role in developing curricula, assessment instruments, professional development series and other resources that support cultural and linguistic competence across the United States and the world; and conducts research on the essential role of cultural and linguistic competence in addressing health disparities.

Watch Associate Professor Tawara Goode's keynote on 'Cultural competence and the higher education sector: Dilemmas, policies and practice – perspectives from the United States'


Dr Tim soutphommasane

Dr Tim Soutphommasane has been Race Discrimination Commissioner since August 2013. Prior to joining the Australian Human Rights Commission, Tim was a political philosopher and held posts at The University of Sydney and Monash University. His thinking on multiculturalism, patriotism and national identity has been influential in shaping debates in Australia and Britain. Tim is an adjunct professor at the School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Western Sydney University and chairs the Leadership Council on Cultural Diversity. Born in France and raised in southwest Sydney, Tim holds a Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy (with Distinction) from the University of Oxford, and is a first-class honours graduate of The University of Sydney.

Watch Dr Tim Soutphommasane's keynote discussing cultural competence and structural racism in the higher education sector and broader society



Janine Mohamed, a Kaurna and Narrunga woman from South Australia, has deep expertise in how to work towards the improvement of healthcare and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. As a nurse and CEO of CATSINaM, Janine is an advocate for the unique and powerful roles that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives have in the health system and their communities, as agents of change. Her leadership and work is informed by principles of health equity and justice, and she has a passionate commitment to working towards health systems that are culturally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, health professionals and employees. A graduate of the University of South Australia, where she now holds an adjunct position, Janine has sound clinical experience, as well as in research, policy and project leadership. Janine has also worked in senior positions for both the AHCSA and NACCHO, contributed to the establishment of the Close the Gap campaign, and was a member of an Indigenous peoples’ delegation that participated in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in 2011 and 2012. Janine is a strong advocate for self-determination and the community controlled health sector, which she believes offers the best model of health care for all Australia.

Watch Janine Mohamed & Professor Juanita Sherwood discuss 'Cultural competence and cultural safety: Understanding the difference' 


Professor Yolanda T Moses

Professor Moses is Professor of Anthropology and the former Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Excellence at the University of California - Riverside. Her research has looked at diversity and change in universities in the United States, India, Europe, South Africa and now Australia. Professor Moses started her research residence with the NCCC in February 2017 as the inaugural Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Cultural Competence and is exploring and assessing the cultural competence model used at the University of Sydney, comparing it to those used in the United States and globally.

Watch Professor Yolanda T. Moses' keynote on 'Beyond diversity & inclusion: Creating culturally competent institutions for a socially just world'


Professor Jean Lau Chin

Jean Lau Chin, EdD, ABPP is Professor at Adelphi University in New York.  Dr. Chin is distinguished as an educator, administrator, clinician and scholar. She has held senior management positions as: Dean, Derner Institute for Advanced Psychological Studies, Adelphi University; Systemwide Dean, California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University; President, CEO Services; Regional Director, Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership; Executive Director, South Cove Community Health Center; and Co-Director, Thom Child Guidance Clinic.  Academically, she has trained psychologists and health care professionals in the diagnosis and treatment and has helped to develop culturally competent training curricula for working with diverse populations. She received a Fulbright Scholar Award as Distinguished Chair in Cultural Competence to the University of Sydney in Australia for 2018.

Watch Professor Jean Lau Chin's keynote on 'Culturally competent leadership'


Conference program

The Conference Program is now available for download below:

Download Conference Program (PDF, 458kB)

Last updated on Wednesday 28 March 2018.

 Image: Cadigal Green - NCCC, 2017

Image: Cadigal Green - NCCC, 2017



Thank you to all who submitted abstracts for the Cultural Competence & The Higher Education Sector: Dilemmas, Policies & Practice Conference 2018. 

A full list of all abstracts presented at the Conference is available below.

Download Full Abstracts List - Cultural Competence & The Higher Education Sector: Dilemmas, Policies & Practice 2018 (PDF, 426kB)

Last updated on Monday 26 March 2018.

Conference Location 


Johns Hopkins Dr, NSW 2006
(02) 9351 7752


Cultural Competence and the Higher Education Sector: Dilemmas, Policies and Practice will be held in the main auditorium of the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney on 4 and 5 April, 2018. Charles Perkins was one of Australia's most prominent Aboriginal activists. Born in 1936 to an Arrernte woman and a Kalkadoon man in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Perkins was the first Aboriginal man to graduate from the University of Sydney and did so in 1966 with a Bachelor of Arts. The Charles Perkins Centre is an Australian medical research institute, clinic and education hub that primarily focuses on diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity, as well as other related conditions. 


The whale (humpback) or “buriburi” is a significant animal to Aboriginal people of coastal Sydney. The whale is a significant character in a local dreaming story that explains the importance of sharing and caring for each other and the reason why whales travel up and down the coastline. This story of the whale is still taught in the La Perouse Aboriginal community whose families have an ongoing cultural connection to coastal Sydney and the Illawarra. This rock engraving of a whale at Mackenzies Point is typical of engraving sites around Sydney, reflecting the abundance of marine life in the coastal environment.  Such engravings are also areas that local Aboriginal people continue to utilise for educational as well as cultural purposes (La Perouse Aboriginal Land Council, 2017).