Please indicate if your Initiative is an Established Initiative.
Team - who worked on the project/initaitve
Peter Mousaferiadis - CEO
Dr John Garzolli - SME Research and Development
Dr Amrita Mahli - SME Research and Development
Dr Cristina Stanca-Mustea - SME Research and Development
Michele McGinity - Marketing Director
Rezza Moieni - Project Manager
Elza Gericke - Project Co-ordinator
Lia Patsakos - Project Assistant and Web content curator
Guilhem Herve - Project Assistant
Benjamin Sato - Project assistant
Nabi Zameni - Lead Wed Developer and Web Master
Osvaldo Branquinho - Lead Graphic Designer
Faranak Hasan Zadeh - Database Administrator
Kaveh Seddighi - Database Developer
Rasoul Amir Zadeh - Developer
Mohammad Kaab - Developer
Zain Afzal - Developer
Maisam Bakhshi - Developer
Rojarani - Software tester
Sravani Reddy - Software tester
Catherine McCredie - Content editor and content developer
Curtis Moyes - Video producer
Angelina Halim - Illustrator
Founder and CEO
Overview - Provide a summary to introduce the project or initiative
Ancestry Atlas is the first software tool to measure cultural diversity in groups of people. It is a sophisticated tool that enables an organisation, school or any group of people to map their cultural diversity. Age, gender, self-identification, worldview (beliefs), language and country of birth going back three generations form the basis of the metrics.
Ancestry Atlas is simple to use and produces analytic reports instantly. Organisations gain a snapshot of their collective culture, presenting unique opportunities for intercultural learning and empowering them with the information to further progress UN sustainable development goals through dialogue, policy and actions. We aim to bring cultural diversity into focus, to enable organisations and people to lead change through a better understanding of the role of inclusion and diversity. Ancestry Atlas can be successfully used in business, education, government and media.
Being able to influence social change, Ancestry Atlas has generated interest in the research community and the Australian National University (ANU) is the official research project partner for Ancestry Atlas. The ANU will review the weighting given to cultural dimensions in the metrics, research worldviews and key assumptions, and stress test the system.
How would you say diversity is embraced within your organisation or sector? Are there diversity initiatives in place or are diversity approaches new to your sector?
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, at 30 June 2016, it was estimated that 28.5% of the resident population in Australia were born overseas (6.9 million persons). With them came a diversity in languages spoken, religious practices and customs, and their children are now attending Australian schools. This complexity has been recognised and the Australian curriculum has addressed the need for cultural diversity by introducing a specific component call Intercultural Understanding (ICU).
Furthermore, reports such as the “LEADING FOR CHANGE: A blueprint for cultural diversity and inclusive leadership revisited” published by the Australian Human Rights Commission in April 2018 indicates that cultural diversity is lacking in organisations, where 95% of senior management is identified as having Anglo-Celtic or European origins. Although many ASX 200 companies have appointed Diversity Officers and champions, these organisations are still not reflecting the broader diversity, either culturally and socially.
Although much research has been done in the fields of culture and diversity, cultural diversity to date has been neglected and been poorly defined and is in need of robust understanding. The research suggested that a way to measure cultural diversity would be useful in organisations that are keen to manage and monitor their cultural diversity over time. In addition to this, teachers were requesting an online version of a classroom exercise that Cultural Infusion educators had been taking into schools. These factors provided the motivation to initiate the Ancestry Atlas project. Cultural Infusion embraces diversity both culturally and socially. Tangible expression of this is in the diverse cultures, ethnicities, religions, gender and abilities of Cultural Infusion’s staff. A diversity snapshot taken in February 2018 of Cultural Infusion showed that 55 staff members spoke 45 languages (one polyglot spoke 7 languages), had 19 different beliefs and were born in 14 different countries; male staff members on average spoke 2.2 languages and female staff members 2.88 languages. Cultural Infusion consistently employs Aboriginal staff and with the help of this staff ensures Aboriginal cultural protocols are respected.
Furthermore Cultural Infusion also employs numerous individuals from the unemployment and disability sectors. Our interns and volunteers hail from many different countries.
In March 2018, Cultural Infusion became the first official partner of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO in Australia.
We celebrate Harmony Day, NAIDOC week and our schools program supports more than 200 ethnically diverse presenters. Any given staff meeting is likely to have a representative from countries as diverse as Thailand, France, Iran, Indonesia or Zimbabwe.
As an organisation Cultural Infusion strives to make a difference in schools and organisations by educating people about cultural diversity. Ancestry Atlas supports intercultural understanding in schools and provides organisations with a snapshot of their cultural diversity. The Cultural Infusion National Schools Program brings another layer of support for intercultural understanding, with cultural programs presented by people from diverse cultural backgrounds to schools around Australia. Over 200 ethnically diverse presenters have delivered programs to 350,000 school children in Australia. Furthering intercultural understanding underpins our award-winning educational digital games and applications, such as Joko’s World and Sound Infusion.
Cultural Infusion’s Ancestry Atlas is a tool that could support diversity change management in organisations through dialogue, support programs and policy. In Ancestry Atlas, we are striving for change through non-threatening, non-prescriptive awareness-raising. Once an organisation has an accurate picture of who they are, they can begin to make positive changes that will help them perform better in our increasingly globalised world.
Ancestry Atlas is a product designed and developed by Cultural Infusion and comes from our understanding of culture as paramount to global peace and security, education and building sustainable and inclusive communities.
Detail the approach that was taken to implement the project or initiative, what actions were taken and why?
Ancestry Atlas developed from a paper-based classroom exercise that traced the ancestry of students as a response to teachers’ requests for a digital version of the exercise. Rezza Moieni and Peter Mousaferiadis took the concept further as they developed the software and their formula to measure cultural diversity and extended the components from country of birth and ancestral country of birth to include worldviews, languages, gender, age range and self-identification. Peter and Rezza’s paper detailing their methodology can be viewed here: Cultural Diversity Paper . They conducted detailed research and consulted with subject matter experts and regular stakeholder feedback ensured that the product was refined to fulfil the specifications.
Ancestry Atlas had to :
- be easy to use by any person, from a child in school to a member in a community group or an organisational user
- be widely accessible
- provide a measurement of cultural diversity
- provide a visual representation of the information
Demonstrate the leadership shown in driving the initiative and fostering behavioural and organisational change.
Cultural Infusion’s founder and CEO, Peter Mousaferiadis, is a leading creative director, producer, and thought leader of culture as a driver of innovation and peace.
Peter is an associate of the UNESCO Chair for Intercultural and Interreligious Relations, Asia–Pacific, a Global Trustee of United Religions Initiative, the current Chair of the Lahore International Conference on Culture and the Deputy Chair of the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria. His work has been internationally recognised and has been the recipient of numerous international prizes, including the 2013 UN Intercultural Innovation Award and the 2017 Peace Ambassador Award (Centre of Peace Studies, Sri Lanka). A transcript of Peter’s speech can be located here Cultural Infusion CEO and founder Peter Mousaferiadis’ Peace Ambassador speech.
Peter also founded the Cultural Infusion Foundation that promotes traditional and heritage culture in various countries around the world. These programs are designed to empower local communities to leverage their cultural collateral to build sustainable businesses as well as keeping their heritage alive. Such programs require perseverance, courage, commitment and ongoing action and political engagement.
Peter is passionate about culture and diversity and actively shares his vision and mission with his staff. The Cultural Infusion vision is: a world that is culturally and socially cohesive; that values the richness of our collective cultural heritage and a world that is culturally harmonious. Our mission is to build cultural harmony and wellbeing through contributing to a society that:
- values intercultural understanding
- utilises its cultural richness to benefit society as a whole
- uses cultural and artistic expression as a means of promoting social and cultural cohesion
Peter actively listens to his staff’s thoughts and ideas. He acknowledges his staff and their contributions to furthering the cause of Cultural Infusion. Under Peter’s leadership, the Cultural Infusion team vibe is very positive, creative, egalitarian and accepting of diverse views. Peter is attentive to the team dynamics, and deals with disputes head on, providing clear, regular guidance on his values of inclusivity, respect for others, acknowledgment of others' vulnerabilities, and what behaviour he expects from his staff. Peter’s leadership and encouragement have been vital in empowering Project Manager, Rezza Moieni, to develop the Ancestry Atlas product.
Was there organisational/industry or other resistance to the initiative? If so, detail the actions taken to overcome resistance to the project or initiative.
Changing ideas and ways of work is challenging. Some people have pointed out that measuring diversity could potentially highlight cultural differences and marginalised persons in the cohort being examined.
These concerns were considered and the persons were engaged in a respectful dialogue to address their concerns. Participants and organisations have quickly realised that Ancestry Atlas can provide incredible insight and be a source for building inclusive, sustainable and competitive organisations.
Ancestry Atlas has been enthusiastically embraced by all who hear of it, having been successfully trialled at Collingwood College, Melbourne University, the City of Melbourne and other spaces. The Victorian Department of Education and Training and the Australian National University have both shown their support to Ancestry Atlas.
Detail the follow up or response to the project or initiative by the organisation /industry /sector. For example has it been extended for a further year, or has the scope been expanded?
Ancestry Atlas is still in its early days. In May 2018, the beta release of Ancestry Atlas has been offered for free to 200 lower socioeconomic schools in Victoria.
Cultural Infusion is developing programs to support cultural diversity prompted by using Ancestry Atlas. The first program planned is “What is in a name?”. "What’s in a name?" has been done as a standalone exercise and was so well received that it will be offered to all schools as part of our schools program. Students are asked to form pairs and share what they know about the meaning of their name before presenting in front of the class. This exercise is a window into intercultural understanding, as names have similar and relatable meanings across cultures, and can also highlight many issues, such as instances of pressure to conform to a societal ‘norm’ (usually European) when participants have or had ‘nonconforming’ names. Students are asked to consider the impact of changing one’s name as a response to pressure to conform.
Discussions are underway to initialise pilot studies with the Department of Defence, Council of Europe, United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, The Australian National Commission for UNESCO, Department of Social Services (Federal), Department of Human Services (AA as a tool to monitor the cultural diversity of their contractors), City of Melbourne, and KPMG to see how Ancestry Atlas can add value to their Human Resources departments in managing cultural diversity challenges and changing perceptions around cultural diversity in these organisations.
The ANU has signed up as our official research project partner for more in-depth studies related to Ancestry Atlas. Research projects will be centred around the the algorithm, weighting metrics, research into worldviews, key assumptions and stress-test the system.
Social Traders has recognised Cultural Infusion as an official ‘social trader’ and that Ancestry Atlas is a unique offering in that niche business segment.
There is plenty of potential for the scope of Ancestry Atlas to expand. We continue to educate ourselves on the cutting edge research being done on cultural diversity, and we are looking into broadening our parameters to include disability, sexual orientations and other orientations such as collectivism or individualism.
Please provide 2 references being the beneficiaries or people that experienced the change (as a result of the initiative). Details to be provided should include:
4. Phone number
6. Short description (up to 250 words) of association with the nominated diversity initiative eg as a beneficiary, experiencing the outcome, etc.
Ancestry Atlas is still in beta phase and so formal feedback is limited.
Name Dr Natalia Grincheva
Organisation University of Melbourne
Phone number +61 390 353014
Role Research Fellow, Research Unit in Public Cultures
Dr Natalia Grincheva curated a public talk held at the University of Melbourne on the 7th May 2018. The topic was “Global Dimension of Cultural Entrepreneurship: International Inspirations Making Local Impact” and it was presented by Peter Mousaferiadis from Cultural Infusion. Peter gave an interactive presentation and Ancestry Atlas was used to demonstrate the cultural diversity of the audience. Audience members were invited to use their communication devices to share their cultural heritage in Ancestry Atlas. The application showed the diversity of the audience in real-time and provided insightful snapshots of internal variance and distribution in birth place, gender, language and worldviews. A Question Wall provided a platform for audience members to post questions and comments and this facilitated dialogue amongst the attendees.
Some of the comments:
\ “Very interesting and vibrant presentation thank you. I really enjoyed the historical groundings of interculturalism you gave us, it felt very enriching. The clarification between interculturalism and multiculturalism was also interesting, and I loved the culture mapping app you’ve developed.”
“Thank you for the impressive lecture! How do you think about the influence of social media to the cultural industry and cultural diversity? Is it a efficient platform to advertise different cultural contents?
“How do you combine the cultural events with the local culture? What difficulties do you have?
“Do you use different special ways of storytelling when you promote different cultures? Or in a general way that audience can understand easily?”
Name Robyn Donoghue
Organisation Tucker Road Primary School, Bentleigh
Phone number 03 9557 2044
Role IT/Library Support
The Tucker Road Primary School Librarian/IT manager, Robyn Donoghue, registered to use Ancestry Atlas on 31 May 2018. Cultural Infusion collaborated with Robyn to present Ancestry Atlas and the “What’s in a Name?” program on 19 July 2018, for the Grade Four class. Robyn had set up the library with computers for every child in the Grade Four class.
The children were briefed and they understood what was being asked of them. They were all very keen to register. The Ancestry Atlas results excited them and they celebrated the accomplishments of their classmates and marvelled at the diversity in their class. The Grade Four class teacher said to us, “I think I’m more excited about it than you are” and when we remarked it was like a class photo, she said, “Oh no, it’s much more than that. It’s layered. It’s like a cake, with a layer of jelly, a layer of cake, a layer of cream…” .
"Ancestry Atlas is an excellent teaching tool that could be used as a springboard into many curriculum areas. It is a user friendly program that enables the students to easily input their data. The students gain textual and graphical information about other grade members and identifies how diverse the grade really is therefore increasing their cultural awareness." Diane Nevitt, Tucker Road Primary School.
What outcomes have been achieved against overall program or organisational performance? Using metrics specify these outcomes, for example financial, growth, policy achievement, performance or capabciltiy uplift?
The ANU has signed up as our official research project partner for more in-depth studies related to Ancestry Atlas research projects for the algorithm weighting metrics, research into worldviews, key assumptions and they will be stress-testing the system.
The beta release was offered to Victorian schools in May 2018. Ancestry Atlas analytics indicate that the uptake has been as follows:
- 15 schools have registered to use Ancestry Atlas and
- 11 have started using Ancestry Atlas
As the Ancestry Atlas is still in beta release, it is too soon to have feedback on the following metrics:
- Financial - this would require longitudinal studies.
- Growth, Performance and Capability uplift - Similarly requiring longitudinal studies.
- Policy achievement.
What do you consider your significant achievement with this Initiative and why?
Significant project achievements:
- Creating a Cultural Diversity Index
This provides a metric that can be used to measure cultural diversity in organisations and to track possible changes over time.
This is a significant achievement as our research could not identify any other such metric that has been developed in the world. It took significant research, creative thought and several iterations to develop the algorithm for the Cultural Diversity Index.
- Ancestry Atlas Tool
This is a simple online tool that has been rolled out and offered to all Victorian schools.
Much research and development, over the past three years, have been invested in creating a website that is easy to use and displays the processed information in a visually engaging format.
The simplicity of the tool gives it great flexibility. It can be used by any organisation in the world for a wide variety of purposes (such as initiating conversations; team building and bonding; strategising and planning; media and communications). The data filters allow users to ‘zoom in’ on particular areas of interest.
We have developed a unique, comprehensive database of worldviews, and use the largest available database of languages to create a deeply inclusive user experience.
The ANU has signed up as our official research project partner. This relationship will provide the research rigour and experience needed to take the tool to the next level.
These achievements provide the foundation to :
- better understand cultural diversity in organisations
- investigate whether measuring cultural diversity changes the cultural diversity profiles of organisations over time
- determine whether cultural diversity affects organisational performance in terms of:
o policy achievement
o staff turnover
o Industrial Relations incidences in an organisation
o improved innovation
o improved service delivery experiences for customers
o change in the bottom line
Who inspires you from a diversity perspective? Who provides leadership in diversity and why?
UNESCO inspires us from a diversity perspective. There is synergy between Cultural Infusion’s cultural vision and mission and that of UNESCO. Both work for:
- Peace in the world
- Preservation of cultural heritage
- The free flow of ideas and knowledge sharing
- Equal rights between genders
- Fostering understanding of indigenous people (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia)
- Transforming lives through education
- Leveraging heritage as a source of identity and cohesion for communities and creating sustainable communities
- Leveraging creativity to build open, inclusive and pluralistic societies
- Using cultural programs to promote mutual understanding and collaboration to build lasting peace
Peter Mousaferiadis, CEO and Founder of Cultural Infusion, lives, walks and breathes interculturalism. He has an insatiable curiosity about people, their cultures, beliefs, languages and heritage. He shares his knowledge with his co-workers and the world at large to drive his vision and mission.
In 2014, Peter developed the winning slogan for the UNAOC “Do One Thing For Diversity Campaign” “Diversified We Grow”. Diversified We Grow
The slogan “Diversified We Grow” highlights the importance of intercultural engagement and understanding. This slogan was presented at the World Forum of Intercultural Dialogue in Baku, Azerbaijan. At the Opening Ceremony of the 2nd World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, His Excellency Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilisations, said that "the powerful message of Peter Mousaferiadis from Australia, the winner of the slogan contest jointly organised by the UN Alliance of Civilizations and the government of Azerbaijan, encapsulates perfectly the terms of the challenge of our modern societies. It also provides a useful compass to reach the objective of the Baku Forum and its message 'Living Together Peacefully in a Diverse World'".
Cultural Infusion’s vision is a culturally and socially harmonious world that values the richness of our collective cultural heritage.
Cultural Infusion’s mission is to build cultural harmony and wellbeing through intercultural action.
What others see as problems we see as opportunities:
- The challenges of globalisation
- Side effects of globalisation, including the potential for disharmony and loss of culture due to global shifts in production, labour and economic activity
- Unlocking the power of diversity
- How to draw on diverse ideas, skills, and knowledge to foster innovation and progress to create a richer society through diversity
- Revitalising culture through interaction
- Preserving the riches, skills and insights of all cultures – fostering a plurality, rather than homogenisation of cultures
We use culture as:
- An enabler and driver of sustainable development
- An eradicator of poverty
- A key to quality education
- A key to social cohesion and inclusion
- A driver of innovation
To summarise: We build global harmony through intercultural action.