Alumni Update | Issue One 2015

Rewarding a culture of welcome

Brad Chilcott - 2014 Award for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding

Brad Chilcott
Adelaide pastor Brad Chilcott – founder of Welcome to Australia, a movement dedicated to helping refugees and new migrants become part of the community – was honoured with the 2014 Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding Individual Award in December.

Chilcott studied arts and communications at UniSA and has put both qualifications to good use in his work to encourage better relationships with people arriving in Australia.
Chilcott is the lead pastor of the Activate Community in Bowden South Australia – a group he founded locally in 2011, but which has quickly become a national advocate for a culture of welcome in Australia.

Speaking at the awards, UniSA acting Pro Vice Chancellor Education, Arts and Social Sciences Prof Kurt Lushington said Chilcott’s dedication to bringing people of all backgrounds together and developing a positive and peaceful narrative about immigration, multiculturalism and refugees was an example for us all.

“Brad has committed a great deal of energy and personal time to developing the Welcome to Australia movement, which is now operating in six cities and has a wide and growing network of volunteers and more than 80 high profile ambassadors,” Prof Lushington said.

“At a personal level he devotes time to mentor young Muslim people in leadership, public speaking and other roles and through the Welcome Centre in Adelaide and similar programs in each state, fortnightly dinners bring together people of all faiths to share food and friendship.”

Chilcott gained national media attention in 2014 for his campaign ‘We’ll Love Muslims for 100 Years’, which gathered over 150 faith leaders in solidarity with the Australian Muslim community to counter growing negative media and political sentiment.

An advocate for understanding, education, and community cohesion, Chilcott’s words and work celebrate our common humanity. He was acknowledged locally in 2014 when he was named Citizen of the Year by the City of Charles Sturt.

Chilcott said receiving the Award for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding was an important public acknowledgement that social unity needs to be encouraged and enhanced.

"This is a time when Australians could easily be divided against one another through fear, prejudice and misinformation,” he said.

“Through its International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding, UniSA is showing the kind of positive community leadership that we need by celebrating efforts to build unity and understanding."

The organisational winner of the 2014 Awards for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding was the Queensland Eidfest Association.

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