December News – Signing off for another year

2017 in Summary

As December gallops toward its celebratory end, take a moment to reflect on the opportunities for growth that 2017 has presented you with, just as we’re doing here at CultureMate.

We’re currently rolling out the new 2016 Census Data, we’ve transferred our interfaith calendar to an online format and re-vamped our CultureMate and JMAwebsites; we’ve expanded our team and have begun to work with some exciting new NFP, health and community partners, on projects with broad cultural implications.

It has been a big year and we are looking forward to recharging over the coming break and returning refreshed and ready to take on whatever it is that 2018 has in store for us!

Australia says ”Yes”
One of the most recent highlights of 2017 for Australians was the resounding ‘Yes’ to gay marriage rights and the passing of this bill in parliament. Though the discussion preceding the vote was challenging for many people, the unequivocal demonstration of the nation’s opinion paved the way for sweeping changes in both a statutory and a cultural capacity. That initial decision was of profound significance for many Australians; politicians, workers, families, the LGBTIQ community and young people. You can relive one of the more emotional moments of the vote here.

Congratulations Vinh!!

We would also like to congratulate a young member of our CultureMate community, Vinh Nguyen of John Monash College, on his award-winning work in furthering our ability to embrace diversity and inclusion through a deepening intercultural understanding. Vinh and his team are pictured above with Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training. Vinh and a number of his student peers won State Historians of the Year for their work on the history of Asian immigration in Australia. You can read evidence of their excellent scholarship here. Congratulations Vinh!

A time to reflect
We also take a moment to consider how we can welcome and include people from diverse backgrounds, for whom this time of year may not necessarily be festive, but with whom we can share the warmth and care that is the spirit of Christmas. Below is a joyful story that exemplifies this spirit; the story of an Indian restaurant owner in Queensland who throws open his doors on Christmas Day, to share food with those who have little or who are without family, in gratitude for the support from his community. Read more of this family’s remarkable story here.

This time of year is a great opportunity for reflection on the myriad traditions and celebrations for people of various faiths and cultures; such as Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights on the 12th of December, the Italian La Befana on the feast of the Epiphany, the 6th of January; Heiliger Abend in Germany on the 24th of December, and Timkat in Ethiopia on the 19th of January, which celebrates the baptism of Jesus. Check out our calendar for more info.


Thank you for being part of the CultureMate experience this year. We give thanks for the opportunities of 2017, and look forward with joy to an expansive and abundant 2018. We wish you and your families a very happy holiday season, and a joyful and safe New Year.

From all of us at the JMA / CultureMate team.