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What is cultural competence?

Participate ethically and effectively in intercultural settings
The starting point is to understand your own cultural values and world view.

What is cultural competence?

Professor Juanita Sherwood unpacks cultural competence and what this can mean for both the Australian context and the wider international community.

Cultural competence is the ability to participate ethically and effectively in personal and professional intercultural settings. It requires being aware of one’s own cultural values and world view and their implications for making respectful, reflective and reasoned choices, including the capacity to imagine and collaborate across cultural boundaries.

Cultural competence is, ultimately, about valuing diversity for the richness and creativity it brings to society. We introduce and explore the concepts from the standpoint of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures as a first step. The program will be expanded to fully embrace the cultural diversity of the University, our region and the wider international community.

With almost half of all Australians having both parents or one of them born overseas, a growing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population and a range of other factors affecting the cultural makeup of our society, we are living in an increasingly diverse global community. More often, we are being called on to work, learn and teach in situations where there is more than one culture at play.

Acquiring the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to operate effectively and ethically in multicultural environments is crucial.