4,950 stu­dents par­tic­i­pate in ‘Colours of Aus­tralia’ art com­pe­ti­tion Held from Dec 12, 2016 till Jan 26, 2017

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL - By Faten Omar

The Aus­tralian Em­bassy, in co­op­er­a­tion with Kuwait Times, is proud to launch the ‘Colours of Aus­tralia’ draw­ing com­pe­ti­tion for stu­dents in Kuwait. The com­pe­ti­tion will see stu­dents in Kuwait learn more about dif­fer­ent coun­tries, cul­tures and civ­i­liza­tions, and iden­tify with com­mu­ni­ties in other parts of the world through arts. Kuwait Times spoke with Aus­tralian Am­bas­sador to Kuwait War­ren Hauck to learn more about the com­pe­ti­tion.

The com­pe­ti­tion is meant to bring Aus­tralia closer to Kuwait. “Aus­tralia is a place you feel”, so we are try­ing to get that sense to Kuwaitis and stu­dents as well. Colours of Aus­tralia can be about land­scapes - the red of in­land Aus­tralia, the blue of the ocean, an­i­mals such as kan­ga­roos and koalas, or about the peo­ple of Aus­tralia, given Aus­tralia is one of the most mul­ti­cul­tural coun­tries in the world, some­thing we are very proud of.

Over a third of Aus­tralians were born over­seas. This rich, cul­tural di­ver­sity is one of our great­est strengths. It is cen­tral to our na­tional iden­tity, and over 85 per­cent of peo­ple in Aus­tralia agree that mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism has been good for Aus­tralia.

We of­fi­cially cel­e­brate this di­ver­sity through “Har­mony Day”, a day marked by peo­ple com­ing to­gether and par­tic­i­pat­ing in lo­cal ac­tiv­i­ties. The con­tin­u­ing mes­sage of Har­mony Day is ‘Ev­ery­one Be­longs’. It is about com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pa­tion, in­clu­sive­ness, cel­e­brat­ing di­ver­sity, re­spect and a sense of be­long­ing for ev­ery­one.

But mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism is more than a gov­ern­ment event; it is in the food and in the peo­ple of Aus­tralia. I my­self am as likely to cook a Thai curry, kebab, or a pizza. Mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism is a part of what we are in the so­ci­ety.

KT: What are some things peo­ple should know about Aus­tralia? What are the most im­por­tant facts to know be­fore vis­it­ing?

Hauck:

Aus­tralia is not that far - we are the same dis­tance or even closer than the US. We have over 150 di­rect flights per week to the GCC. The visa process is easy. If you are a GCC na­tional, you can ap­ply on­line - no need to send the pass­port. It usu­ally takes 24 to 48 hours. Ex­pats can ap­ply at the Aus­tralian visa ap­pli­ca­tion cen­ter at Ar­raya Tower.

We in­vented Wi-Fi and Google Maps, so you know our tech­nol­ogy has to be good. The food is fan­tas­tic and fresh and we have one of the old­est con­tin­u­ing civ­i­liza­tions in the world in our in­dige­nous pop­u­la­tion.

KT: What are some cul­tural points of in­ter­est that Aus­tralia is par­tic­u­larly proud of?

Hauck: There are so many, I do not know where to start. One of Aus­tralia’s most re­mark­able nat­u­ral gifts, the Great Barrier Reef, is a breath­tak­ing beauty and the world’s largest co­ral reef. It has over 1,000 species of fish, and to give an idea of its size, is larger than Italy. In­land you have Uluru (Ay­ers Rock), where you can dine un­der the stars af­ter watch­ing the sun­set. Or head down to Tas­ma­nia for un­spoiled wilder­ness.

Equally, vis­i­tors should visit Syd­ney, which was just ranked as the most ad­mired city in the world, as well as Melbourne, which has been voted as the most liv­able city for the sixth time in a row.

We have around 1,100 Aus­tralians in Kuwait - they do a bit of ev­ery­thing, from bank­ing, teach­ing, and en­gi­neer­ing in some of the com­pa­nies here. We have an Aus­tralian busi­ness group which brings dif­fer­ent busi­ness net­works to­gether.

We had about 4,000 Kuwaitis vis­it­ing Aus­tralia last year. In terms of where they go, the most vis­ited place was Aus­tralia’s Gold Coast and Queens­land. It has en­ter­tain­ment parks and is nice dur­ing the Kuwaiti sum­mer, around 25 de­grees.

I have felt very wel­comed in Kuwait as an Aus­tralian. And it is a di­verse so­ci­ety here - I have friends from Syria, In­dia, Kuwait, Aus­tralia, Amer­ica and Bri­tain to name a few. Un­for­tu­nately, the re­cent tragic events in Ger­many, Turkey, and Jor­dan erode some of the con­fi­dence in hav­ing di­verse so­ci­eties, so I am very proud that Aus­tralia con­tin­ues to be a mul­ti­cul­tural so­ci­ety.

KT: Tell us more about the Aus­tralian Em­bassy’s up­com­ing events.

Hauck: The Colours of Aus­tralia art com­pe­ti­tion ends on Jan 26, which is also Aus­tralia’s Na­tional Day. We will around that time be hold­ing a re­cep­tion, and through Jan­uary, or­ga­nize events where Aus­tralian ex­ec­u­tive chefs will pro­mote prod­ucts and show peo­ple how to cook Aus­tralian meat. Stay tuned as well for our news­pa­per sup­ple­ment, which will have a lot of in­for­ma­tion on Aus­tralia for tourists, stu­dents and busi­nesses.

We are also keen to en­gage more with the Aus­tralian uni­ver­si­ties’ alumni here in Kuwait, so if you’ve stud­ied in Aus­tralia, fol­low us on Twit­ter or Face­book to make sure you can link with our events. We’re also very proud to work closely with our ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions here in Kuwait - the Aus­tralian Col­lege of Kuwait, who have spon­sored the draw­ing com­pe­ti­tion, and Box Hill Col­lege Kuwait.

How to ap­ply

The com­pe­ti­tion is open for all schools that want to par­tic­i­pate. The draw­ing com­pe­ti­tion is being held from Dec 12, 2016 till Jan 26, 2017, al­low­ing par­tic­i­pants from gov­ern­ment, spe­cial needs and private and bilin­gual schools enough time to sub­mit their artworks.

On the due date, the draw­ing sheets will be col­lected by Kuwait Times, and a jury of pro­fes­sional artists will be se­lected from the Kuwait Arts As­so­ci­a­tion, who will choose the top 10 win­ners in each age group. The con­test is open to both boys and girls as fol­lows: El­e­men­tary (6-9 years), In­ter­me­di­ate (10-13 years) and Se­condary (14 years and above), in ad­di­tion to spe­cial needs stu­dents.

Valu­able prizes, in­clud­ing phones and tablets, will be awarded to the top 10 en­trants in each cat­e­gory. Three top win­ners in each cat­e­gory will be given a plaque and ma­jor prizes, while the re­main­ing seven run­ners-up will re­ceive cer­tifi­cates and prizes. A cer­tifi­cate will also be given to the school as recog­ni­tion of honor­able par­tic­i­pa­tion. The com­pe­ti­tion is spon­sored by VIVA and the Aus­tralian Col­lege of Kuwait, with the awards event to be hosted by Crowne Plaza Ho­tel Al-Thu­raya City.

Kuwait Times: Tell us about the ‘Colours of Aus­tralia’ art com­pe­ti­tion. What in­spired you to get be­hind this project?

Hauck: Mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism KT: How does Aus­tralia cel­e­brate the di­ver­sity of cul­tures and com­mu­ni­ties within its borders? Hauck: KUWAIT: Aus­tralian Am­bas­sador to Kuwait War­ren Hauck speaks to Kuwait Times. —Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat Aus­tralian com­mu­nity KT: How large is the Aus­tralian com­mu­nity in Kuwait and what do they do here? Hauck:

KT: How many vis­i­tors from Kuwait does Aus­tralia re­ceive an­nu­ally? What are the top places they visit?

Hauck:

KT: What do you think about Kuwait and the di­ver­sity of com­mu­ni­ties you find here?

Hauck:

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