Honours for intercultural research work
Plimmerton woman Colleen Ward has been given the Te Rangi Hiroa Medal by the Royal Society of New Zealand.
It is a social sciences award, for her contribution to the psychological study of immigration, acculturation, intercultural relations and cultural diversity.
A professor in the Department of Psychology at Victoria University, Professor Ward is internationally recognised as a leading authority on cultural diversity and how culture affects human behaviour and experience.
Her award citation said her work with Muslim youth in New Zealand has made a significant contribution to the Alliance of Civilisations Research Network, the United Nations’ collective think tank for the promotion of understanding between Muslim and Western societies.
From 2005 to 2007 Professor Ward was a James Cook Research Fellow in Social Sciences (Identity, Acculturation and Intercultural Relations), and from 2008 to 2010 she led a youth project that examined the experiences of Chinese, Pacific and Muslim youth.
Her book, The Psychology of Culture Shock, is acknowledged for its synthesis of theory and research on intercultural contact.
Her theory on acculturation and immigrant adaptation formed the basis of the International Comparative Study of Ethno-cultural Youth, a 13-nation study published as Immigrant Youth in Cultural Transition.
In 2011 Professor Ward received the Victoria University of Wellington Inaugural Public Contribution Award for the application of scholarly expertise to resolve the challenges facing multicultural communities.
She has acted as consultant to government on issues around immigration and social cohesion.
Medal: Professor Colleen Ward, recognised for her contribution to intercultural research.